A guy, who might not be guilty of the crime for which he is accused, spends 41 years in solitary confinement. This incident didn’t happen in North Korea or Russia, but in the United States.
While long prison sentences are warranted in serious crimes, there are no justifications for anyone spending more than short durations in solitary confinement. It is a form of torture that invariably leads to crippling and permanent psychiatric damage.
Herman Wallace, the inmate who spent much of his life in isolation, was freed shortly before succumbing to cancer. Wallace was “freed by a federal judge who ruled that his original indictment in the killing of a prison guard had been unconstitutional.” However, he was re-indicted for the same crime by a prosecutor who felt he was a murderer and that the original evidence was still valid.
None of this should distract anyone from the fact that he was held in solitary confinement for decades. Prison is bad enough (and it is very, very bad). Solitary confinement for such a long duration is inhumane, immoral, and unconstitutional. It is the practice of authoritarian states, not of free and democratic states.