Anna: Would you please state your name?
Daniel: Daniel Jay Perez
Anna: And can you tell us, can you define segregation for us?
Daniel: Segregation, for me, was pretty much hell. It's a 23-hour lockdown, one hour out a day, five days a week, little stimulation, little interaction with anybody, and concrete walls that seem to close in on you. Like I said, it's hell, at least that's the way I would say it would be. Out of the entire time that I've been locked up, which is ten years, I've only been outside of seg a year and eight months, so that would be, what? Eight years, four months total in solitary. At this point, I'm diagnosed with psychosis NOS (Not Otherwise Specified) obsessive-compulsive disorder, and mood disorder NOS, and borderline personality [disorder].
Solitary confinement breaks you down, and it's a form of punishment that can really do some serious harm. I question whether or not I'm able to survive outside of that environment, because I did it for so long. I'm struggling to survive day to day out here, just have a normal life. I can't go to the big yard because there's 200 people out there. I can't go to the little yard because there's 100 people out there. I'm afraid to come out of my room at times because there's 30 people, you know? Cause you spend so much time isolated by yourself, so much stimulation, it gets frightening at times. And there's days, and today's one of them, actually, that I feel like I'm not gonna be able to survive in a population, in a setting outside of an IMU (Intensive Management Unit), because of the damage that was done. It caused paranoia, causes me to hallucinate, it causes me to feel unsafe. Today's one of those days that it's contemplating, you know, do I give up? Cause I just… there's no support here, even though there's days that I contemplate going back, it's not something I would… wish on anybody. It can really mess you up, and it has messed me up to the point where I'm out here, not able to function at times being around people, where I have to isolate in my cell. That's kind of scary when you don't know if you can make it outside of an environment that you wanted out of so bad.
Narrator: The AVID Prison Project, Amplifying Voices of Inmates with Disabilities, is a collaboration between The Arizona Center for Disability Law, Disability Law Colorado, The Advocacy Center of Louisiana, Disability Rights New York, Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities of South Carolina, Disability Rights Texas, Disability Rights Washington, and The National Disability Rights Network. This video was produced by Rooted in Rights.
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The AVID Prison Project is a collaboration between The Arizona Center for Disability Law, Disability Law Colorado, The Advocacy Center of Louisiana, Disability Rights New York, Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities of South Carolina, Disability Rights Texas, Disability Rights Washington and The National Disability Rights Network.