How To Do a Solitary Confinement Demo in 5 Easy Steps
Step 1: SET GOAL
- What do you hope to accomplish with your demonstration?
Examples: get passers-by to send postcards to a specific prisoner, sign a petition to end long-term solitary confinement, support a lawsuit to end long-term solitary confinement
Step 2: BUILD CELL
- Get measurements: how big is the solitary cell you are re-creating? (typically range from 6 x 9 to 8 x 10 but some prisoners may be in even smaller confinement – if you are supporting a specific prisoner, check with the inmate).
- Make your cell: you can use chalk to draw it on the ground, use masking tape to mark it on the ground, or build a replica of a solitary confinement cell
- Fill your cell: can leave empty, to signify the person who is missing from society; can fill it with prison items and have an activist inside the cell representing the prisoner.
- Prepare materials. Have something to hand out to passers-by: brochure about your prisoner, copy of the petition, pre-addressed stamped postcards for them to write to the prisoner, stickers, etc.
STEP 3: PUBLICIZE YOUR EVENT
- Make an event page for the action
- Contact local media a week before the event – include a press release
- Go guerilla: skip publicizing the event and just do it!
STEP 4: DAY OF
- Be courteous and polite
- Engage the public
- Take pictures for write-up
STEP 5: AFTER THE ACTION
- Follow-up with turning in petition signatures, or with your inmate. Did they receive the postcards? Are they planning on writing back to those who wrote them? Did they receive second communication?
Check out our link to the Mint Press News Article featuring PAPS conducting a Solitary Confinement Demo.