Joe Hunt describes how the bleakness of prison life can lead to suicide.

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Joe describes how the bleakness of prison life can lead to thoughts of suicide.

Transcript:

Yes, I’ve been on yards that were so dark, I mean what we’re talking about is referred to in the prison system as active mainlines—like active level 4 mainlines in the California system.

An extremely dysfunctional society exists—as tribal—and the men are under tremendous pressure, and it’s bleak.

So, a lot of people commit suicide.

They don’t do it necessarily by hanging themselves, most often it’s a drug overdose. And a number of people that are brought back from overdoses now is really high because they have a special drug that they use to bring them back.

Otherwise, most of these people would have been successful. But you know, the level of despondency, despair, depression, as a result of the conditions of confinement, on active main lines is high.

And what was called the SHU, Special Housing Unit, for a number of years had guys that were doing 20-30 years behind walls, with no outside exercise other than what we call a dog run, which is just like a 10×10 cement area opened to the sky.

They get an hour of that or something a day, so in that level of misery, suicide becomes something that many people think about, a lot of people attempt, and of course, tragically some people succeed at.

That is probably the most primary and basic offense against the spirit—against the human spirit—possible.

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