“Gov. Quinn’s Proposal to Close Tamms Supermax Prison Got It Right” @ Huffington Post

Posted on March 23, 2012

Locke Bowman — March 13, 2012: “My friend and client Darrell Cannon experienced firsthand the regime of solitary confinement at theTamms Correctional Center, the so-called supermax prison buried in the ground in a remote corner of southern Illinois. Darrell was one of the 50 first Illinois prisoners transferred to Tamms when it opened in 1998. For the next nine years, 23 hours a day, Darrell lived in a barren, concrete cell behind a steel mesh door with no view of the outside world, listening to the screams of prisoners in the cells near his who were slowly going mad. He slept on a concrete slab. In those more than 3,000 days the only human touch Darrell ever experienced was the hand of a corrections officer, shackling him on the infrequent occasions when he was moved out of his cell.

“I got through it by the grace of God and with the memories of my mother and my grandmother,” Darrell told me recently. For nine years, he exercised relentlessly each day, testing himself. How many pushups could I do in an hour? How many sit-ups? He ran in place. “I tried to have something different to do on the different days of the week,” he said. On Saturdays, he sang ditties to himself. Every song he could remember. On Sundays he sang the hymns he remembered from childhood when his mother would take him to church. Darrell got through it. On April 30, 2005, his wrongful conviction finally overturned, Darrell walked out of Tamms prison.

Since coming home, Darrell has been an exemplary citizen — no arrests, a solid record of gainful employment, a wife and a stable home. His parole was terminated early. Though he once was a leader in a street gang, Darrell is not a monster. He is not a brute. And he is no fomenter of violence. In point of fact, Darrell is a person of exceptional grace and dignity — and a very strong man. Darrell Cannon never did anything to deserve the appalling treatment he received at the hands of the Illinois Department of Corrections…………..”

Read more at Huffington Post.