Tyquine Lee, 26, spent more than 22 hours a day in solitary confinement at Red Onion state prison in Virginia
A prisoner with a history of mental illness was held in solitary confinement at a prison in Virginia for over 600 days, leading to a collapse in his physical and mental condition, a new lawsuit alleges.
Tyquine Lee, 26, is being held at Red Onion state prison and lost over 30lb, the ability to speak, recognize his mother or even remember his own name, the lawsuit states.
Between 26 May 2016 and 31 January 2018, Lee spent more than 22 hours a day in an 80 sq ft concrete cell behind a steel door. His only time outside of the cell was three showers a week and an hour of recreation each day in a steel cage the size of a parking space.
He went from talking regular to talking in numbers, and a whole other language which I nor anyone else could understand, said Takeisha Brown, Lees mother and legal guardian who filed the lawsuit with the MacArthur Justice Center.
She said: My heart ached from pain when I heard from my son and I could not get a regular conversation out of him. Ive lost sleep, and couldnt eat because of this.
Prison reform advocates in the US have called for solitary confinement to be banned because they say it constitutes torture. Studies have demonstrated its destructive psychological effects; reformers say there is little to no evidence the practice reduces prison violence.
Brown explained that when she was permitted to visit her son during his confinement, his ribcage was visible, his teeth had visible decay, his clothes were dirty and his prison uniform was falling off him because of the weight he had lost.
Before we left, Tyquine would start to growl and bark like a dog, Brown added. When I got back to my hotel room, I locked myself in the bathroom for hours crying and praying to God that he have mercy on Tyquines life.
During a psychiatric review conducted in January 2018, after more than 600 days in solitary confinement, Lee was diagnosed with schizophrenia and an unspecified personality disorder illnesses that went untreated and were worsened from solitary confinement. The review also noted that Lee spoke in numbers and invented words, symptoms he had exhibited in previous case reviews but were ignored as signs of severe mental illness.