Former Inmates School Congress On Solitary Confinement: 'We're Torturing People And Calling It Justice'

Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels had quite the embarrassing moment Feb. 25 when he couldn't give the Senate Judiciary Committee the dimensions of the average solitary confinement cell. Five Mualimmak knows the answer from experience: "It's about the size of your bathroom, and your rec area is like going into the shower for recreation."

Mualimmak joined HuffPost Live on Feb. 27 to share what spending every day in that tiny space is really like. Now a prison reform activist, he spent five years in solitary, an experience that would have been torturous on its own but was made worse by his bipolar disorder. By the end, he suffered through hallucinations and permanent brain damage.

"To put a person who has a manic disorder in a closed, 6-by-9 [foot] cell -- I hope Mr. [Samuels] is listening so he can know the exact size of the cell," Mualimmak said.

That small cell was equally excruciating for Anthony Graves, an exonerated death row inmate who witnessed violent suicides during his 16 years in solitary.

"It is maddening, and it's really a shame that we as a society accept this in our culture because I am telling you, we are torturing people and we're calling it justice, and it's not. It's totally the opposite," he said.

See the full HuffPost Live conversation about the reality of solitary confinement below.



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