The Solitary Confinement Cell Experience Opens at Freedom Center

. August 12, 2016

CINCINNATI, OH – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announced today that they will host the National Religious Campaign Against Torture’s (NRCAT) Solitary Confinement Cell Experience beginning Friday, August 12, 2016. The exhibit, in partnership with the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, is a part of NRCAT’s nationwide interfaith campaign to expose and end the torture of solitary confinement in prisons, jails and detention centers across the U.S. The Solitary Confinement Cell Experience will be on display through September 30, 2016 and is included in general admission.

Solitary confinement has a variety of names: “the box,” segregation (“seg”), “the hole.” On any given day, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 incarcerated people, disproportionately adults and youth of color, are held in conditions of solitary confinement. ​That number does not include individuals in local jails, juvenile facilities or in military and immigration detention.

The Solitary Confinement Cell Experience, consisting of a replica cell with audio from a maximum security prison in Maine and panels highlighting personal stories, has been on display at the Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington DC, the Islamic Circle of North America’s Annual Convention in Baltimore, the United Church of Christ Synod in Cleveland, the Pennsylvania Council of Churches’ Statewide Conference on Mass Incarceration and the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is the first museum to host the exhibit.

“As a museum of conscience, we have a responsibility to share social justice issues with the public,” says Richard Cooper, director of museum experiences at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “Prolonged solitary confinement is a human rights issue, one that requires further examination and reform by the criminal justice system. As the first museum to host the Solitary Confinement Cell Experience, this exhibit can be the catalyst for a much needed conversation in our region.”

The Solitary Confinement Cell Experience highlights six personal stories of individuals held in solitary confinement cells, including:

Evie Litwok (spent seven weeks in solitary confinement)
Five Omar Mualimm-ak (spent five years in solitary confinement)
Judith Vasquez (spent three years in solitary confinement)
Kirk Gudenerson (spent 12 hours in solitary confinement at age 17)
Kalief Browder (spent two years in solitary confinement beginning at age 16)

“We are proud to partner with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture to bring the powerful, true to life Solitary Confinement Cell Experience to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center,” says Dr. Inayat Malik, past board chair and president of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati. “This exhibit will educate and illuminate the devastating effects of prolonged solitary confinement. This is an imperative first step if we are to be a beacon for human rights and freedom around the world.”

The Solitary Confinement Cell Experience opens Friday, August 12, 2016 at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The exhibit is included general admission. Learn more about at freedomcenter.org

Category: Museum News

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