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USA : no touching. No human contact. The hidden toll on jail inmates who spend months or years alone in a 7x9 foot cell

Source - Los Angeles Times

In nearly three years, Dominic Walker rarely looked another human being in the eye.

Except for showers, he left his cell at Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles only once a week, to exercise in a small cage resembling a dog kennel. His conversations were typically shouted through cell bars to other inmates in his row.

“It makes you feel like nobody. I’m here, the walls are closing in. It makes you hallucinate,” said Walker, 34, who was released in June after prosecutors dropped his armed robbery charge.

More than 300 inmates in the antiquated jail live in near-total solitude, deprived of meaningful human contact either because they have misbehaved behind bars or because officials believe they must be kept away from others for safety reasons. Another 100 or so, including women, are doing their time in solitary units — officially called restrictive housing — at jails elsewhere in the county.

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