Jails and Prisons

'Solitary' chillingly looks at life at a supermax prison in the Appalachian mountains

'Solitary' chillingly looks at life at a supermax prison in the Appalachian mountains

The penetrating “Solitary” is a sobering account of life (without parole) inside the Red Onion, a super-maximum security prison ensconced in Virginia’s Appalachians. Home to the worst-behaving offenders in the state, most sent from other institutions for violating prison rules, the facility sequesters as many as 500 inmates, each in 8x10 cells hidden behind sky blue-painted steel doors.

That faux-blue is the only “connection” with nature they’ll have save for one hour each day, when they’re permitted to get some fresh air in similarly-configured “rec cages.”

Given unprecedented access to the supermax facility,...

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