Anthony Gay

Lisa Guenther once said, "There are many ways to destroy a person, but the simplest and most devastating might be solitary confinement."

I went to prison, after a probation violation, for a petty offense. I landed in solitary confinement.   For the next 22years, I sat in a cell, smaller than a parking space.   For the most part, I was only allowed out the cell when I engaged in horrific self- mutilation.   The conditions of confinement were despicable and horrible. I lost my social identity. Under these traumatic and stressful conditions, I was denied any meaningful opportunity to participate in vocational, educational or work activities.  As a result I spent substantially all my time in absolute idleness.   Such unbroken inactivity increases boredom ,tension and frustration, which in turn promote incidents of hostility in solitary confinement.                                                                                                                           

Solitary confinement is a human rights tragedy.  Good Morning America Anchor, Robin Roberts, who has undergone extremely difficult bone marrow transplant surgery, believes it is a tragedy to have a life changing experience and miss the meaning.   The key word is tragedy.   The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines tragedy as a serious drama with a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion.   Solitary confinement is always full of drama-- self-mutilation, cell extractions, and psychological torture. It should be a life changing experience for anyone in solitary confinement,but this is my perception.   However, my perception is a result of my experience and my experience in solitary confinement is too deep for deception.   The conditions of confinement caused me to engage in in self- mutilation, as a coping mechanism, beyond the wildest imagination,to alleviate the psychological suffering--time descended like a lid of a coffin.   In order to keep from losing my sanity( this is a paradox) I had to engage in horrific self-mutilation.   This was the only way I could have contact with people (nurses) who were caring and compassionate and gave me a lifeline of social stimulation.   But I could only have contact with them outside the parking space(cell) was when I put a razor in my eye or cut my neck or other parts of my body.   What happened to me is wrong.   Solitary confinement is an axis of evil.   But many Americans are unaware of what goes on in this psychological zoo. Nonetheless,the greatest agent for change is awareness.

Many Americans still languish and suffer in solitary confinement. My mission is to move the whole nation to have empathy for its people (the greatest agent for change is awareness).  As a result, I have written a book(book1#) about my experiences in solitary confinement. But I need to pay production cost of the book( Copyright, bar codes, cover, design, proofreading, editing, print copies ,etc.).

If you can help me reach my goal of raising 15,000 to put together a professional looking book and pay for print copies, It will be greatly appreciated.

In the news:

Anthony Gay, 44, speaks about his two decades spent in solitary confinement in Illinois prisons. Gay returned to his Rock Island home after being released earlier this year. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune) 

How solitary confinement drove a young inmate to the brink of insanity 

Man Who Spent 20 Years In Solitary Confinement Vows To Be Voice For Inmates 

22 Years In Solitary Confinement: Looking At The Life Of Former Inmate Anthony Gay 

Stealing a hat and $1 landed him at Tamms. After decades in solitary, he’s now free. Read more here: 

After more than two decades in solitary confinement, former inmate seeks to end the practice 

Charged for stealing hat and $1, Anthony Gay released after 22 years of solitary confinement 

38289458_1554511467182187_r.jpegAnthony Gay walks down his street Nov. 11, 2018 in Rock Island. He spent in 22 years in solitary confinement. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS)


Main photo - Anthony Gay outside his cousin's barbershop Nov. 11, 2018, in Rock Island. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)

Second photo - Anthony Gay walks down his street Nov. 11, 2018 in Rock Island. He spent in 22 years in solitary confinement. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

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Anthony Gay 
Chicago, IL
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