24 New Eng. J. on Crim. & Civ. Confinement 385 (1998)
It's Like Living in a Black Hole: Women of Color and Solitary Confinement in the Prison Industrial Complex

handle is hein.journals/nejccc24 and id is 391 raw text is: It's Like Living in a Black Hole:
Women of Color and Solitary
Confinement in the Prison Industrial
Complex
Cassandra Shaylor*
Angela Tucker awoke at six a.m. cowering in the corner of her cell,
shaking uncontrollably, unable to breathe. A fifty-four year old African-
American woman, Tucker suffers from hypertension, diabetes, and asth-
ma. Though she was confined alone in this cold, dark cell for six
months, she finally had reached her limit. She repeatedly called for
guards to help her, but they refused to respond A few hours later, she
was subjected to a strip-search and taken out of her cell to the shower.
When she returned from the shower, she refused to re-enter the cell.
She begged to be placed in a larger space, to be put in a cell with
another prisoner. She explained that she was claustrophobic, and that
since she had been placed in solitary confinement both her blood pres-
sure and her blood sugar had risen to dangerous levels. Her pleas
were ignored. Instead she was confronted by a cadre of fourteen
guards who threatened to use physical force against her, including
shooting her with rubber bullets, if she refused to enter her cell. She
chose to comply, but insisted that she be placed on the medical
doctor's visiting list. A couple of days later a psychiatric doctor came
to her cell and prescribed a combination of Prozac and Buspar, two
psychotropic medications, to cure her anxiety problems.  She remains
in solitary confinement and has received no medical attention for her
serious medical conditions. As someone who has been in and out of the
prison systems for fifteen years, she says, I thought I had seen most
of what they can dish out. But this here is the worst. I never seen
anything like it. Living in here is like nothin'you could ever begin to
* Staff Attorney, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children; Ph.D candidate,
History of Consciousness, University of Cal. at Santa Cruz; J.D., Washington College
of Law of the American University, 1995; B.A., Smith College, 1992;. The author
would like to thank Professors Angela Davis and Donna Haraway for astute and
helpful comments on early drafts of this paper. The author also expresses deepest
gratitude to Margaret DeRosia for her thoughtful readings of this article and unwaver-
ing support for this work.

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