Solitary confinement “is inhumane and by its design it is driving men insane,” a former inmate who spent 18 years in prison in Texas, a decade of that time in isolation on death row before being exonerated, told a Senate panel in a hearing on Tuesday.See a related Times editorial which praises Graves' "moving" testimony. For more, see Anthony Graves and Jim Ridgeway, who runs the blog Solitary Watch, interviewed about solitary confinement on Democracy Now:
“I lived behind a steel door that had two small slits in it, the space replaced with iron and wire, which was dirty and filthy,” said Anthony Graves, whose conviction for involvement in multiple murders was overturned in 2006. “I had no television, no telephone and most importantly, I had no physical contact with another human being.”
The hearing, held before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, represents the first time lawmakers on Capitol Hill have taken up the issue of solitary confinement, a form of imprisonment that many human rights advocates believe violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment” and that has drawn increasing scrutiny in recent months in the United States and internationally.
See Graves' written statement to the committee, LA Times' coverage of the hearing, and a good summary of the event from The Dissenter. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette editorialized after the hearing that "It's time to view solitary confinement as torture."