There are many ways to destroy a person, but the simplest and most devastating might be solitary confinement. Deprived of meaningful human contact, otherwise healthy prisoners often come unhinged. They experience intense anxiety, paranoia, depression, memory loss, hallucinations and other perceptual distortions. Psychiatrists call this cluster of symptoms SHU syndrome, named after the Security Housing Units of many supermax prisons. Prisoners have more direct ways of naming their experience. They call it “living death,” the “gray box,” or “living in a black hole.”
Redwood Curtain CopWatch, based in the north coast of California, is part of a larger movement of self organized CopWatch groups throughout the US. Our local efforts seek to intervene in the drastic rise of the presence, militarization, and violence of the police, and build support networks based on self-determination, caring, and concrete needs.