An estimated 80,000 Americans are held in solitary confinement in prisons across the country. Solitary confinement, often in cells no bigger than 6 by 10 feet, means 24 hours per day with little or no meaningful human contact. Six By Ten explores the mental, physical, and spiritual impacts of America’s widespread embrace of solitary confinement, as told through the first-person narratives of individuals subjected to solitary confinement, family members on the outside, and corrections officers. Each chapter presents a different individual’s story and probes how Americans from all over the country and all walks of life find themselves held in solitary for years or even decades at a time.
“Some of the people in Six by Ten were convicted of crimes, but this book convicts the United States of an incomparably greater crime: blighting the lives and searing the souls of untold hundreds of thousands of men, women, and teenagers by a practice that more enlightened countries consider inhuman. You will not find a more riveting indictment anywhere of our reckless use of solitary confinement, nor one told through such a variety of moving, poignant voices.”
—Adam Hochschild, author, King Leopold’s Ghost
“The voices heard in this powerful collection are haunting. As these men and women make inescapably clear, the practice of removing human beings from everything that makes them sane and stable—keeping them for days, months, and years in utter isolation without light, touch, sound, space, and hope—is unimaginably cruel. Six by Ten is a deeply moving and profoundly unsettling wake up call for all citizens. The use of solitary confinement is deeply immoral and we must insist that it be banned in all of our nation’s prisons. Immediately.”
—Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author,
Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy