If you are inspired, engage, contemplate, create, and get involved:
- Carefully enter the garden and sit or lie on the bed form. Daydream. Imagine life in solitary. Check in with your emotions and your empathy for those who live alone in this small space. Ask yourself to envision a more just and equitable world.
- Consider your own definitions of social and physical isolation. Has the COVID-19 pandemic made you think about the effect of confinement and isolation on the human spirit? Does Albert Woodfox’s experience of decades in solitary confinement change your understanding of our prison systems and its goals? Ask yourself, and others, does solitary confinement solve, or contribute to, societal problems?
- Imagine concrete walls and metal doors. Compare your imagination to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s house and garden and the presence of sky and flowers in the Solitary Garden.
- Write a letter of empathy, hope, encouragement, and positivity to an incarcerated person. The Prison Correspondence Project is a great place to start.
- Write a letter of empathy, hope, encouragement, and positivity to a senior citizen or immune-compromised person who is in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Love for the Elderly and Letters Against Isolation will get your letters to people who need them.
- Solitary confinement is considered a form of torture and inhuman treatment by most activists and mental health practitioners. Did your visit to the Solitary Garden inspire you to help end this practice? If your answer is yes, visit Stop Solitary: Connecticut and the ACLU to learn more about this social justice issue.
- Angela Davis writes, “Mass incarceration is not a solution to unemployment, nor is it a solution to the vast array of social problems that are hidden away in a rapidly growing network of prisons and jails.” Davis encourages us to imagine tax dollars used for prison being redirected to basic necessities such as food, shelter, and freedom to make communities secure. Angela Davis formed Critical Resistance, a national organization with local chapters, to build an international movement to challenge the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe.
- Community Partners in Action (CPA) is an important service provider in our region advocating for criminal justice reform. CPA’s team works to address employment, basic needs, and recovery services work to reduce recidivism and enhance public safety — all at a fraction of the cost of prison. You can volunteer for CPA.