By Brooklyn Reader

July 7, 2015, 11:37 am

 

Lorenzo Steele (r) with a former inmate Anthony Simpson conducting a prison art exhibition at New Rochelle college in 2014. Photo: Lorenzo Steele Jr.

Lorenzo Steele (r) with a former inmate Anthony Simpson conducting a prison art exhibition at New Rochelle college in 2014.
Photo: Lorenzo Steele Jr.

My name is Lorenzo Steele Jr., and I am a former New York City corrections officer who spent 15 years working on the infamous Rikers Island (C-74), the nation’s most violent adolescent jail.

Voices from the box, #1:

These are jail stories from friends of mine that served time in solitary confinement. The main purpose for these stories is to share their personal experience with the public on how it feels to be in a 8 foot by 6 foot cell,the size of a small bathroom for 23 hours. Through this series of short essays,”Behind These Prison Walls: Solitary Confinement” written in first person by the former inmates themselves, I hope to bring awareness to the rampant problems of mass incarceration and youth in solitary confinement.

Former inmate Jamaine Richardson, 43 years old (served 6 months in Attica)
I was sent to solitary confinement in Attica correctional facility for assaulting a corrections officer. My first night in solitary confinement was scary because I was always told if you assault any of the officers they would kill you.

The CO’s beat me up real bad they didn’t break any of bones although they tried. My body was black and blue from getting hit with sticks, being kicked and punched to say the least. I was in real pain and real sore. I thought they was going come back and beat me up some more that night but they didn’t just the thought of them coming back kept me up all night.

Now being in solitary confinement means you’re in a cell for 23 hours a day by yourself. It can get real lonely, and if you’re not comfortable with yourself, a person could lose their mind thinking and worrying too much.

If you look down the corridor of this adolescent "bing" you see a lone body. This is the suicide aide the most valuable person in solitary confinement.  Photo: Lorenzo Steele Jr.

If you look down the corridor of this adolescent “bing” you see a lone body. This is the suicide aide the most valuable person in solitary confinement.
Photo: Lorenzo Steele Jr.

Not having someone around you to talk to could make people go crazy. To keep my mind strong I worked out doing push-ups, dips and other exercises. I read a lot of different books and used the books to take me from my present situation or to escape my reality of being in solitary confinement.

Solitary confinement is not a good place to be for anyone. I was let out of my cell or should I say my cage because that’s what it really felt like for one hour a day and that was so I could take a shower or go to the yard which was another cage.

As I said earlier solitary confinement isn’t a good place to be for nobody, but remember this one thing if you never go to jail, you never have to worry about being placed in solitary confinement. So please stay out of trouble cause it take a second to get in trouble but it can take a life time to get out of it.


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