SIX BY TEN: STORIES FROM SOLITARY
Edited by Taylor Pendergrass and Mateo Hoke
Six by ten feet. That’s the average size of the cell in which tens of thousands of people incarcerated in the United States linger for weeks, months, and even decades in solitary confinement. With little stimulation and no meaningful human contact, these individuals struggle to preserve their identity, sanity, and even their lives.
In thirteen intimate narratives, Six by Ten explores the mental, physical, and spiritual impacts of America’s widespread embrace of solitary confinement. Through stories from those subjected to solitary confinement, family members on the outside, and corrections officers, Six by Ten examines the darkest hidden corners of America’s mass incarceration culture and illustrates how solitary confinement inflicts lasting consequences on families and communities far beyond prison walls.
BRIAN, who was taken by the Illinois Department of Corrections from solitary cell to solitary cell in prisons across the state for more than seven years in the 1980s and ’90s as part of an unofficial program that came to be known as “the circuit.” Brian reclaims his humanity by working as an advocate on behalf of people currently trapped in solitary.
MOHAMMED “MIKE” ALI, who grew up in the Bay Area after his family immigrated to the United States from Fiji. Growing up romanticizing gang life, he escalated through youth detention, jails, and prisons before landing in solitary in a private immigration detention facility in Arizona.
HEATHER, who is fighting for the life of her son, Nikko. He was diagnosed as bipolar at a young age and spent time in youth institutions in Florida before being sent to solitary as a teenager.
SONYA, who was sent to solitary in a men’s jail in Texas, supposedly for her own protection, and whose story helped inspire change for other trans people facing incarceration in Dallas.