Saturday 2011-12-31

Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick n William Simon

Mitnick comes across as pretty fried; maybe it's from all the running he's done. Or ...

I wish I could describe the sinking feeling I had as I stepped inside. After living dread of "the hole" for so many years, it took everything I had to not totally lose it when they locked the door behind me. I would rather have shared a cell with a tattooed, whacked-out drug dealer than find myself locked up alone like this again.

The rap about computer geeks is that we spend countless hours in small, dark rooms, croucned over the glowing screens of our laptops, not even knowing whether it's day or night. To a nine-to-fiver, that might seem like solitary, but it's not.

There's a huge difference between spending time alone and being thrown into a disgusting, dirty coffin that is your home today, tomorrow, next month, with no light at the end of the tunnel, controlled by people who are doing their best to make you miserable. No matter how hard you try to reframe it in your head, being in the hole is grim and depressing twenty-four/seven. Solitary confinement is widely condemned as torture. Even now, the United Nations is working to have its use declared inhumane.

Many experts say that extended solitary confinement is far worse than water boarding or other forms of physical torture. In the hole, prisoners often suffer from lethargy, despair, rage, and severe depression, and other forms of mental illness. The isolation, idleness, and lack of structure can easily start to unravel your mind. Without anyone else to interact with, you have no way to rein in your thoughts or keep your perspective. It's far more of a nightmare than you can even imagine.

-- Winning the Scapegoat Sweepstakes