It's Time to End Solitary Confinement: Ian Manuel's Story
January 4, 2024
“Imagine that you, at age fifteen, have been sentenced to social death, life without parole, in a space nine feet by seven—the size of a freight elevator—where for twenty-two to twenty-four hours a day you are trapped; where in a deadly daily routine you sleep, wake up, shit, piss, eat—food slipped through a slot as if you were an animal, where you are denied the possibility of human contact except as physical or mental abuse; where visual and sensory stimuli—the stuff of life—are only a memory or a dream; where who you are is defined only by your willingness or unwillingness to be disciplined and punished. Imagine life without hope in a brutal hellhole of sameness designed to break your spirit and challenge your sanity.”
This is an excerpt from Ian Manuel’s 2022 memoir “My Time Will Come: A Memoir of Crime, Punishment, Hope and Redemption” where Manuel recounts his real life experience spending 26 years in prison—18 of those years in solitary confinement—before advocacy efforts from the Equal Justice Initiative led to his release in 2016.
Since his release, Manuel has made waves as an activist, poet, and motivational speaker. His memoir recounts his journey from his teenage years to the present. He joins us today to talk about juvenile life without parole, solitary confinement, and restorative justice.