Adam Hall Tried to Kill Himself in Prison. And Got Six More Years.
From The Village Voice:
Whenever he can, Adam Hall calls his mother and sister from the phones at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in upstate New York. When he has stamps he dictates letters. Sometimes he talks about how badly he wants to come home. But what he talks and writes about most is how he is trying to die.
In February he tried to do it by slicing up his arms. Before that, he tried to collect his meds for an overdose. Five years ago it was by setting himself on fire. As Hall, who struggles with severe mental illness, continues to rack up charges for suicide attempts and refusals to follow rules, he has seen probation turn into a three-year sentence and an arrest for stealing cigarettes escalate into an eight-year odyssey through the prison system.
If Hall is lucky, and nothing else goes wrong, he could be out by the end of 2018. But Hall has never been lucky, and his hope is gone.
“At this point,” says his mother, Carole Holleran, “he just wants to die. He feels like he’s never going to get out. They keep adding time, adding time. Every time he does something wrong, the bill adds up, adds up, adds up.”
Hall has been diagnosed with a panoply of psychiatric disorders: ADHD, bipolar, impulse control, depression. He has violent outbursts, paranoia, and suicidal tendencies. Unable to follow rules, Hall has repeatedly been thrown into solitary confinement, and in those stints his condition has gotten worse. In a decade, he has been transferred between prisons at least seventeen times. In January, he went from the Attica Correctional Facility back to Great Meadow, a prison where his experience has been especially dire, and where last fall he filed a lawsuit alleging that four guards brutally assaulted him in retaliation for a suicide attempt.
Hall’s mother has been fighting for him, with little success, since he was a young child. At age five, he tried to burn down his family home outside Utica in upstate New York. Afterward, he drew a picture of his family having a happy reunion in heaven.
In family photos he looks at the camera with a shy smile, revealing a distinctive gap between his front teeth, just a kid in a neat checked button-down. Behind the smile is an interior storm. There was no money for decent psychiatric help. Through most of his childhood, Hall was in and out of psychiatric institutions and group homes. Holleran says he was molested in two of them, but never effectively treated.
Like many such histories of abuse and mental illness, Hall’s leads straight from childhood to prison. After several misdemeanor arrests as a juvenile, at nineteen he was convicted of inappropriately touching a neighbor’s young daughter and sentenced to probation and therapy under the condition that he not be arrested again. Months later, he was arrested on charges of petit larceny stemming from a dispute over whether he took a neighbor’s car. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to time served in the county jail and $180 in restitution.
Read the full article here.
Correctional Association of New York releases “Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Assn.’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
New York, NY (December 13, 2017): Today The Correctional Assn. of NY (CA), founded in 1844 and one of the oldest prison watchdog organizations in the country, released a 92-page report providing graphic first-hand depictions of physical, mental, and emotional abuse as a result of days, weeks, and often years of being caged in solitary confinement for 23 to 24 hours a day.Read More
Southport Correctional Facility is one of two super-maximum security prisons in the state that places an emphasis on solitary confinement. A new report looking at the facility’s practices is highlighting the negative impact solitary confinement can have on a human. So advocates are making a renewed push for the HALT Act. Joining us to talk [...]Read More
“Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Association’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
“The isolation itself is torture. Mentally and emotionally, it breaks you down. Spiritually it strips you. The way it is built is to break you down as a person and push your family away.” From “Solitary at Southport” Solitary confinement is torture. New York State subjects people to solitary confinement and other forms of isolation [...]Read More