Solitary Confinement: “Herman’s House”
PBS recently played the film “Herman’s House,” a powerful documentary about Herman Wallace, a Louisiana prisoner who has spent four decades in solitary confinement while holding on to his dignity. The documentary is accessible for on-line viewing via the PBS website until August 7, 2013.
Professor Michael B. Mushlin, of Pace Law School, is the author of the authoritative multi-volume treatise titled Rights of Prisoners and is an expert on prison law and reform. He was one of several experts who were invited to respond to the film. In his reflection, he states that
[w]e, the people, are responsible for our prisons and what happens in them. When the public sends the message to stop the widespread use of isolation, America’s solitary cell doors will open and we will have a prison system more worthy of our nation—one that no longer hides men and women suffering silently and unnecessarily in those dark, oppressive solitary confinement cells. This film advances the coming of that bright day.