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Jose Padilla and Me (reflections on solitary confinement) - repost [View All]

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TomInTib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-16-07 06:47 PM
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Jose Padilla and Me (reflections on solitary confinement) - repost
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I originally posted this Dec 6, 06.


Reading all of this recent business about Mr. Padilla has forced me to remember things that I have spent a long time forgetting.

Like Mr. Padilla, I, too, spent a stretch in sensory-deprived solitary confinement thirty-something years ago.

Like Mr. Padilla, I, too, spent my time in a military (Marine) brig.

As is the case with Mr. Padilla, I was held on suspicion alone

It is worse than you could possibly imagine.

I believe it was when I read the part about him having the personality and energy of a piece of furniture that the box in my head cracked open.

I spent every moment of every day in a tiny cell with barely enough room for a rack (bed) and one of those little desks that you might have used in the third grade. The light was always on.
There was this thin mattress that smelled of despair and piss on that rack. The mattress barely covered the S-shaped springs of which the connecting clips had been removed so that one had to contort ones self, pretzel-like, in order to get any kind of sleep.
The schedule and time of day were impossible to track.

Your mind will do crazy shit to you in an environment such as that. I experienced unbelievably giddy highs flights of absolute elation - and moments of suicidal depression. One right after the other.

And hallucinations.
I saw everything that was in my memory bank and plenty else. When I would wake, I was never sure if I was really awake or just imagining that I was. I would go days without uttering a sound because I was so afraid that if I vocalized the least little bit that I might just scream myself to death. The few times I was interrogated I spent the first minutes just trying to find my voice and trying to decide if the voices I was hearing were real or imagined.

However, unlike Mr. Padilla, I was on a bread and water regimen. Three days (I believe) of bread and water and three days regular brig fare, alternating.
Ten pieces of white bread and a glass of water, three times (I think) per day.

I ate only the crusts just to fuck with them.

I went in standing six feet tall and weighing 180 pounds.

I came out weighing 117 pounds.

But I was still six feet tall.

(end of OP)

Those experiences have stayed with me for 35 years. I can still feel those flashes of utter hopelessness, disorientation and desperation.

Tom
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