David Casper is serving a long sentence for armed robbery at Nevada’s Ely State Prison. He has made two unsuccessful escape attempts, which earned him a place in solitary confinement. According to his blog, maintained by friends on the outside, “I have actually been in Solitary Confinement for this last six years (since 2007) but up till October 28th, 2010, I was in a normal Housing Unit in a cell where I could communicate with other prisoners who were also in Solitary Confinement. Plus I had my radio and T.V. But now, since October 28th, 2010, I have been stuck in an Isolation cell at the end of a hallway in the back of the Infirmary.” Casper is allowed no personal possessions. In order to write the following note to Solitary Watch, he had to persuade a CO to loan him a pencil and a small piece of paper for a few minutes.  –James Ridgeway

[They] put me in this cell [in the infirmary] where I have been locked away, and it seems they have thrown away the key. I have no shoes of any kind. No clothes except a pair of underwear and a T shirt. I have a blanket and a mattress. That’s it. They won’t even let me keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in my cell. I have to use it and give it right back to the guard. There is no window to the outside. And they painted everything in this cell Orange…It’s like I live in an orange box. It seems like I am stuck in some weird room in the Willy Wonka factory.

They posted a “No Communication’’ notice on the outside of my door. The regular COs are not allowed to talk to me or even come into the vestibule outside my cell. When they feed me a sergeant or lieutenant has to be present. And they feed me using this box that they put my food in, then they lock it. Then open the inside part, sliding it open so I can reach in and pick up my tray. They treat me like Hannibal Lector and I’ve never once acted aggressive towards any staff.

A small selection of Casper’s poetry–including the following, titled “Hatchet Man”–appears on his blog. 

An introvert by nature, solitude you were once my friend.
But now they’ve turned you against me, oh you misery with no end.
My new found enemy, it’s you I wish to shake.
I’m afraid you’re now employed by the ones who wish to take.
What will it be next? You thief inside my head.
Stocking my serenity and replacing it with dread.
Haven’t they taken enough, they’ve taken all I had.
Now they send you, Hatchet Man, to take until I’m mad.
Maybe it’s my confidence or maybe it’s my will.
I feel you in there hunting, hunting for a kill.
You go on and hunt, give it your best shot.
If you think it will be easy, I assure you it will not.
Even if you team with time and force this to end.
For you, my will, I will not break. And for them I will not bend.

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