"Outside Recreation Area " by Tommy Silverstein

Living in a isolated milieu within an isolated society.
by anonymous prisoner
Well, Pelican Bay S.H.U. [Secure Housing Unit] is exactly that milieu and the society within it.
Designed as a weapon of psychological warfare. It is used to break the spirit and mind and emotions of an individual. Isolation in Pelican Bay SHU consists of total confinement to a cage for 22 ½ hours a day. One is isolated from all human contact, with the exception of the few people in your pod (section) which has eight cages per pod, housed by eight prisoners.

Every day each person is given the opportunity to go to an exercise yard for 1 ½ hours. The exercise yard is equal to the size of a cage and a half.

The only scenery to life is to look straight up to the sky through a small screened opening in the roof on the exercise yard. This is also total isolation from all forms of life. Being totally isolated from human contact in a cage can cause one’s mind to drift, even if he has things to pacify him or not; for a person’s mind can loose consciousness with reality.

A person may start to retrospect and introspect, then slowly slip away from reality because of his isolation. The person will become psychotic and develop an assortment of antisocial or psychological behavioral problems. There are people in the S.H.U. for determinate isolation periods and others who are held indeterminately in isolation, which in short means their isolation in the S.H.U. is perennial, unless they mete out certain obligations over a period of time, to those who administrate the S.H.U.

Those obligations are for a person to debrief (snitch) on other prisoners or parolees they may associate with inside the prison system or streets or to identify anyone who they think is involved in criminal activity. This must be done and te information, at least most of it, must have some truth to it. A debriefer is sending others to isolation in order to be released from isolation.

This weapon of isolation is quite effective in the theatre of psychological warfare, because it is breaking individuals’ principles in what they purportedly believe in by debriefing on others and sending them in their place.

The purpose of this psychological weapon is to break a human being’s spirit, mentality and their principles. If you can break a man mentally you have defeated everything he believes in and he will defeat himself for his adversary. What holds a person’s character together are his principles and beliefs. This is what is attacked in psychological warfare.

This weapon also destroys a person’s self-esteem. Where one will become mentally and psychologically lethargic in his isolation. One may even develop suicidal thoughts, because his self-esteem has reached such a low.

However, there are ways to overcome and defeat this weapon, and of course there will be scars, but you will still have your dignity intact. One must develop a systematic program within the isolation of his cage, by developing an approximate time to wake up and go to sleep.

A person should not allow himself to become pacified by the television and create a television routine.

As I have stated earlier how isolation can effect a person’s mentality, therefore one should find reading material: non-fiction and a little fiction, but more non-fiction material. This aids the mind so it won’t be idle.

A person should also engender an exercise routine, consisting of cardiovascular and stretching exercises. These designed workouts should range to at least an hour for five days a week or every other day.

The things I have mentioned will ensure your survival in isolation to an extent. At the same time one must use these defenses to remain mentally adroit. However, there will still be those who will still submit to being broken by this weapon of psychological warfare. Whether it is through submitting to the debriefing process or losing one’s mind; but those people never really had the attributes of being strong mentally and emotionally. It just so happened that isolation was the weapon that broke them and it exposed their weakness and truthfully if it was not isolation they would have broke regardless.

It is not who can be broken and who cannot, but it is about a system that engages in the use of psychological warfareto turn human beings into broken animals. For those who remain steadfast in their self-discipline, they will not be defeated. They will last firm and strong until their last breath and holding true in their heart their principles, that which separates the broken from the unbroken, for the unbroken lives with integrity, that which psychological warfare seeks to destroy.

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