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Photo of Senator Gary Winfield.

STATE SENATOR

Gary Winfield

A Passion For Progress

"Inside the Box" Display at the State Capitol until March 2

This week I worked with ACLU CT and others who care about prison reform to bring a replica solitary confinement cell to the State Capitol.

"Inside the Box" was created to help people understand that prolonged isolation is a form of torture. If you didn't get a chance to visit while it was set up at the New Haven Free Public Library earlier this month, I encourage you to visit the Capitol building while it's here. It will be on display in the South Lobby of the State Capitol Building, 210 Capitol Ave., Hartford until March 2.

Senator Winfield inside the box.

I spent a few minutes inside while it was on display in New Haven, but I wanted to challenge myself to stay longer in order to get a better sense of what it's really like. So I went in at approximately 2:53 p.m. Tuesday and remained inside until 5:15 p.m.; a total of 2 hours and 23 minutes.

It was a strange experience. I had no sense of time. As I tried to count in my head to figure out how much time was passing, the eerie noises from the pre-recorded audio of a solitary confinement cell disrupted my thoughts and I couldn't even focus on my own thoughts. I found myself pay attention to little things, like the small marks on the walls. It definitely had an impact on me.

I'm urging my colleagues in the General Assembly to support solitary confinement reform and to visit the replica cell while it is on display in the Capitol building. You really don't need to go in for more than a few minutes to get an idea of how torturous an experience it is to be confined to solitary conditions.

For more information visit www.insidetheboxnhv.org.