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Thread: The Harrowing Before-and-After Photos of Two Years in Solitary

  1. #1
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default The Harrowing Before-and-After Photos of Two Years in Solitary



    The Harrowing Before-and-After Photos of Two Years in Solitary

    On the left: Stephen Slevin in 2005, when he was arrested in New Mexico's Dona Ana County on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving a stolen vehicle (Slevin says the car was lent to him by a friend). On the right: Slevin in 2007, just before he was released after spending nearly all of two years in solitary confinement in the county jail.


    Slevin was awarded $22 million in damages by a federal jury for his ordeal, which involved being confined to a small cell with no natural light for 23 hours a day. He sent letters to the county jail's nurse (credentials: bachelor's degree in biology), whose response was only to up his dose of sedatives. Meanwhile, his relatives were trying to find out: where's Stephen?
    The answer, for most of his 22-month detainment, was that he was in "deplorable" conditions of his solitary "pod," court documents state, except for a 14-day period in May 2007, when he was sent to New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas, N.M., for a psychiatric review. He had lost a third of his body weight by that point, documents say, and had bed sores and a fungal infection on his skin.
    [...]
    It wouldn't be until months later that Slevin's sister, whose name and location [attorney Matt] Coyte did not give, found out what her brother was going through: Forced to pull out his own tooth because he was denied access to a dentist, he told reporters on Tuesday. Toenails curling around his foot because they were so long. Basically forgotten about in his dark cell for more than 22 months.
    "Basically" forgotten about, yes, though Slevin says guards walked by frequently. In May of 2007, he was allowed a brief stint at a "mental health institute," where he was able to shave and cut his hair; he then returned to solitary before being released charges dropped due to his deteriorating mental health in June. And Dona County? Why, it has a "disturbing history of settling cases involving the mistreatment of prisoners," The Daily writes.


    The Harrowing Before-and-After Photos of Two Years in Solitary
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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Two years, no trial, no proof of wrongdoing. Just disappeared. Damn. Wonder how many others might be locked up somewhere like that. He needs more than the $22 million, he needs to know why and how this happened.

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    Elite Member OrangeSlice's Avatar
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    It's sickening. There needs to be prosecution of the officials involved.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Holy crap, they turned him into Sam Elliot....

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    22 million will not replace his mind. This is horrid.
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    Elite Member Sarzy's Avatar
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    Sick. Poor man. I think keeping someone in conditions like that is vile anyway let alone someone who hasn't even been convicted of something!

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    Holy crap, they turned him into Sam Elliot....
    um, not even close.


    this poor guy has been through the ringer. 22 million will help him, but he's damaged forever. bastards.
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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    and now he has lung cancer

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."

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    Elite Member Trixie's Avatar
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    After reading this, I thought, there must be more to this story. Didn't find much, but this gives a little more detail.

    Former inmate wins $22 million over 'forgotten' solitary confinement
    By Bill Mears, CNN updated 12:26 PM EST, Wed January 25, 2012

    (CNN) -- A New Mexico man held in solitary confinement in a county prison for nearly two years without ever being prosecuted has won a $22 million jury award for violation of his constitutional rights, officials said.

    It is one of the largest federal civil rights settlements in history involving an inmate. Stephen Slevin alleged he was essentially forgotten while in custody.
    "This has never been about the money," Slevin said in a halting voice outside the federal courthouse in Santa Fe, just after the jury's decision.

    He suffers from post-traumatic stress from what he called physical and mental mistreatment by corrections officials in Dona Ana County, in the southern part of the state.

    "We made a statement about what happened to me," he said of the verdict.

    Slevin, 58, was arrested in August 2005 and charged with driving while intoxicated and receiving a stolen vehicle near Las Cruces. His lawyers said the prison segregated him because he had a lifelong history of mental illness.

    Albuquerque civil rights attorney Matthew Coyte said his client then began to deteriorate while in isolation.

    "They threw him in solitary and then ignored him," said Coyte. "He disappeared into delirium, and his mental illness was made worse by being isolated from human contact and a lack of medical care."

    Slevin's lawsuit alleged he became malnourished, lost significant weight, developed bedsores, fungus and dental problems and was not aware of his situation or surroundings.

    He was transferred to another state facility for two weeks, where he was given a psychiatric evaluation and then sent back to the Dona Ana County Detention Center, where he was again placed in solitary confinement. Coyte said Slevin did receive a brief competency hearing a year into his imprisonment, but the case against the man never proceeded.

    After 22 months as a pre-trial detainee, Slevin was released and the charges dismissed. He then filed suit, claiming his rights of due process were violated since he was not given a hearing before being placed in solitary confinement.

    Photos taken before and after his confinement show dramatic appearance changes. The plaintiff said things were so bad he was forced to pull his own tooth while in custody, and that his pleas for help were dismissed.

    In pre-trial motions, the county denied "that there was lack of medical care. For most of the other allegations, officials either denied them or said they were "without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief" of the veracity of the claims.

    The defendants also said Slevin waited too late to file his suit, and that as government employees, county officials deserved immunity from liability, believing they acted in good faith as to Slevin's treatment in custody.

    The county had refused any public comment before the trial. There was no immediate reaction to the verdict from county officials.

    Slevin's legal team said the county in recent days had offered to settle the case for $2 million, just before the jury went to consider a verdict and award.
    Coyte told CNN he hopes Slevin's court victory will send a message throughout the state for more humane treatment of inmates, especially those with mental or physical issues.

    Slevin continues to have serious medical issues, and is fighting lung cancer, his lawyer said.

    The case is Slevin v. Board of County Commissioners of Dona Ana County (1:08-cv-01185).

    Former inmate wins $22 million over 'forgotten' solitary confinement - CNN
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  10. #10
    Elite Member Chalet's Avatar
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    This is New Mexico, United States of America???

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    Elite Member stef's Avatar
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    so much for "the land of the free"...
    i wish this man all the best.


    In pre-trial motions, the county denied "that there was lack of medical care. For most of the other allegations, officials either denied them or said they were "without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief" of the veracity of the claims.

    The defendants also said Slevin waited too late to file his suit, and that as government employees, county officials deserved immunity from liability, believing they acted in good faith as to Slevin's treatment in custody.
    jesus, i cant believe these people just get off that easily.
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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalet View Post
    This is New Mexico, United States of America???
    Yeah, I had to go back and read this a couple more times to make sure it was NEW MEXICO, not plain old Mexico.

    Disgraceful. The people who did this deserve the same treatment. There's no justification big enough.
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