Since first appearing in an October 16th, 2010 Voices from Solitary post, Utah State Prison, Draper, prisoner Brandon Green has been a consistent and prolific chronicler of “the vortex” that is the supermax Uinta One facility. Over 90 inmates are held in solitary confinement in the facility, where inmates are held in 8×6 cells for up to 24 hours a day. Inmates may be placed in the facility for protection (voluntary and involuntary) or as punishment for rules violations. Most are not allowed phone calls or visitations, and reading materials are restricted. The facility has been described as “a place of pain and terror,” with one inmate commenting ”no wonder there are so many suicides.”
Brandon Green, 30, born and raised in Utah, has been in and out of prisons, and solitary confinement, for a decade. In 2003, he was arrested for driving a stolen truck. In an essay published on a blog operated by a supporter, he writes of his entrance into the world of solitary confinement: “115 Lbs, sick and coming off a two year crack addiction, you had to fight to stay unmolested and alive. The prison sends you to solitary confinement for fighting.”
For eleven months he served time in prison, much of which was in solitary confinement. His time in isolation would have a profoundly negative effect on him. Writing, ”While in solitary you developed these fears, this hate, this ‘animal-like’ emotion. You learned about needles from a neighbor and psychotropic medications from another neighbor. You start to shoot cocaine and methamphetamine at home. Your mom starts you on medication. You drive 400 miles, up and back, to Las Vegas every two days to keep your dope supply up and the money supply up by selling.”
Being rearrested, he was incarcerated for 18 months, much of which was in solitary. Sent to a half-way house upon release, due to “the stress after all that solitary” he was rearrested and served two additional months before being released. In 2006, he was turned in by his mother following a resumption of involvement in criminal activity, and was arrested while driving back to Utah from Las Vegas. Upon being arrested, and not wanting ‘to come back to solitary, ” he slipped his handcuffs and reached for the shotgun in the vehicle, prompting a swift response by officers. While in jail he pulled sprinklers to flood his cell, engaged in self-harm, and threw feces. He was forcibly medicated for a month while in a strip cell following a suicide attempt.