The charges were intended to send a clear message to both the public and the nearly 3, inmates housed at Pontiac: Eventually, though, a state appellate defender discovered Gay's case, wrote briefs on his behalf and got the attention of prosecutors, who were willing to renegotiate his sentence. He only left Tamms a second time in late because the notorious facility shut its doors for good. He has a home now, with friends and family. He could have gotten out of prison in three and a half years, Gay's lawyer, Alexis G. They would clean the blood off me, encourage me not to do it.
He was released this past August.
How solitary confinement drove a young inmate to the brink of insanity
Eventually, though, a state appellate defender discovered Gay's case, wrote briefs on his behalf and got the attention of prosecutors, who were willing to renegotiate his sentence. In a county where the prison employs hundred of residents, prosecutors would seek tough punishments against anyone caught abusing staff members. The best part about the day he was released, according to Gay: With panic setting in during those early weeks, he first sought attention by remembering something he had done when he was 12 years old back in Rock Island. Occasionally it was a staple from a legal document or a small shard of something he had broken. At first, he did "superficial cuts," but the prison staff didn't take him seriously, Gay says. Gay is now suing the state.
So the physical pain would alleviate the psychological pain. He would become enraged by simple things, he said, like a guard giving him one piece of bread on his meal plate and not two. A federal judge ordered the Illinois Department of Corrections in October to improve its mental health services — a groundbreaking ruling made after Gay testified about his troubling treatment in solitary. Desperate for help and now looking at a lifetime of solitary confinement, Gay began writing lawyers and begging for assistance. And Colorado, once notorious for holding inmates in solitary confinement, now has a policy that bans solitary confinement for longer than 15 days and requires most inmates must be out of their cells for at least four hours a day. A federal judge recently found that of the roughly 1, Illinois prisoners in solitary confinement, more than of them have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. While Illinois has significantly reduced the number of days juvenile offenders spend in isolation and no longer uses segregation as a punishment for young people as part of a consent decree between the department and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, those policies do not extend to the adult population.