“Ex-inmate on controversial prison: ‘Tamms never leaves my head’” @ Chicago Sun-Times

Posted on February 26, 2012

Dave McKinney — February 25, 2012: “SPRINGFIELD — When Gov. Pat Quinn announced plans to shut down Illinois’ super-maximum-security prison in Downstate Tamms last week, Brian Nelson flashed back to his dozen years in continuous solitary confinement there for 23 hours a day.

Now paroled and working as a paralegal in Chicago, the Lake County resident said he paced in his Tamms cell for 15 to 20 hours a day until his feet bled, engaged in a 48-day hunger strike to protest conditions and even took to copying down every verse of the Bible, eventually winding up with 4,200 pages of writing.

“It took me a year, nine months and two days,” Nelson said of his boredom-induced copying. “Tamms never leaves my head. I can close my eyes, and I can see that cell. I walk in a room, and I start counting things because that’s one of the coping mechanisms you develop. You count the holes in the door.

“It screws my head up going back there,” he said…..”

Read more at Chicago Sun-Times.