Letters From The Hole: Suicide In Solitary Confinement


The New York Civil Liberties Union recently released a report outlining the “inhumane, arbitrary use of solitary confinement” in New York state prisons.

Included in the report are handwritten letters from several inmates placed in segregated housing (solitary confinement) for various — in many cases non-violent — reasons. The letters describe what life is like for those locked in a cage for 23 hours a day.

The Voice will be publishing several of the letters in a series called Letters From the Hole.

Today’s inmate: An inmate identified only as “Mr. Diaz” was in solitary confinement at Upstate Correctional Facility when he took his own life. Diaz, according to two other inmates, didn’t speak English and the prison didn’t provide him with a translator — he was unable to ask for mental health services. The inmates wrote letters to prison officials on Diaz’s behalf requesting help for their fellow inmate. Help never came, and Diaz committed suicide on May 21.

See the letters below.

Diaz Suicide 1 Redacted

Diaz Suicide 2 Redacted