For nearly 20 days I have been in solitary I am sanctioned to 120 days! Why do I feel numb…. I know I am hurting I know that I am in pain from the effects of isolation, yet I am not wilding out, I am somewhat numb to what’s going on. Numb to the fact that I was set up and lied on, numb to the fact that New Jersey Department of Corrections is still using Isolated Confinement despite the clear law stating they can not send vulnerable (LGBTQIA) inmates to solitary.
How do you explain a unit where you are locked in your cell for 22 hours or more a day? How do you explain receiving meals through a dirty food port attached to the door? How do you explain cages built around tables and handcuffs being placed on you for every movement? I will tell you what its NOT… Its not what governor Murphy signed off on when he and legislative staff restricted isolated confinement in the state of New Jersey.
New Jersey Uses Isolated Confinement
Despite Governor’s order to limit its use. In June if 2019. New Jersey became a leaded on criminal justice reform after tr Governor signed Isolated Restriction Act into law! Yet thirteen months later NJDOC is still using isolated confinement.
The same units that were declared to deny humantiy, be inhumane and cause severe psychological issues, are still in use yet the department of Corrections in a last minute attempt seven days before the new law’s effective date stated to all inmates that it would be renaming solitary “Restorative Housing Unit”. The department rolled out a new disciplinary program that is more harsh and now brings back forms of solitary that were abolished years ago. The ACLU and others have already begun to raise concerns about the changes as they run counter to the intent of the legislation and the law. Yet NJDOC has continued to operate these isolation units claiming that because they changed the name from “Administrative Segregation” to “Restorative Housing Unit” inmates are not in solitary. As I write this to you I am doing 20-23 hours per day in the cell sanctioned to solitary for 120 days.
So much for reform, so much for freedom…