Surviving Your Stay in Solitary Confinement

By Russell Auguillard

From PHN Issue 29, Summer 2016

My days consist of reading, exercising, writing, studying criminal and civil law, working on my case, studying medical periodicals as well as other studies, and watching television programs. With these particular routines, I manage to basically keep myself occupied. Yes, of course, doing the same thing all the time has a tendency to get boring. But when it comes to that point, you can do the same thing but switch it up.

Writing to people in the outside world is such a relief. In regard to pen pals, there are many ways to establish them. You can have someone go and place an ad on pen pal websites. Or you can even take one stamp a day and write anywhere to ask about a pen pal, even to places like churches. You can address the letter to the church minister and say you would like to correspond with someone from their welcoming congregation. That of course is only one example, but I believe you understand what I mean.

You not doing anything in your cell all day will definitely damage you mentally. Cells cause many problems, but the absence of human touch, panic attacks and bouts of claustrophia are things that come about. You being in contact with family or other people will help you through this. I continue to strive daily. The little stuff that does remain in my life, I’m holding on to it with a tight grip.

How about your talents? When was the last time you used them? No matter what it is, put it to use. Your talent is how you express yourself. Whether it’s drawing, writing books or something in the field of hobby craft, it’s what you’re good at.

Scientific studies have shown that solitary confinement is capable of inflicting severe psychological damage to individuals in less than a week. Even the United Nations has expressed this to the people who control and operate these prisons that hold us. It’s not that they don’t recognize this, because they do—they are just failing to do anything about it. So it’s actually on us to do something about. According to our United States Constitution, it’s our First Amendment right: freedom of speech, to practice any religion, to assemble, freedom of the press and to petition for whatever we please as long as it’s done peacefully. Therefore, you can do something to change this terrible system. Although you may be affected by some sort of mental illness that was caused by being in a cell, still you have a chance to be productive.

Exit your cell daily for that time you’re given out of it for an hour, so you can move around and eat healthy. After each meal, you may want to walk/pace your cell nonstop for at least an hour so your meal can properly digest.

Due to you having no control of the light being on all 24 hours, you can try wearing sunglasses a couple hours each day. When resting, find something to cover your eyes.

Hope this can help you. As always, you are welcome to contact me any time.

Russell Auguillard #347039, Louisiana State Penitentiary

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