Fault Lines examines the toll of solitary confinement through the story of Dennis Wayne Hope who spent 27 years in isolation in a Texas prison.
On any given day, the United States locks away around 50,000 people alone in prison cells with no meaningful contact with other human beings. In many cases, this means 23 hours a day in a small 6 by 9 foot cement space with 1 hour for recreation and a shower. The United Nations has determined a period longer than 14 days in solitary confinement constitutes torture.
No state uses this arcane punishment more than Texas, where 3,000 prisoners are housed by themselves. After escaping prison in 1994, Dennis Wayne Hope was placed in solitary confinement, where he witnessed suicides, experienced hallucinations, and heard voices that were a figment of his imagination. After 27 years in solitary confinement, he was finally placed in the general population last year, after challenging its constitutionality in court. Fault Lines examines the toll of solitary confinement on the mind and body.