Princeton University is taking a look at the idea of solitary confinement through the eyes of the prisoners who experienced it and the artwork that tells their story.
Ojore Lutalo spent 29 years in prison. 22 of those years he spent alone in solitary confinement, and if you look at his artwork you are able to see some of the emotions he experienced during that time. You see anger, you see rage, you see a deteriorating emotional state of someone, who in a lot circumstances, felt like this was a next-generation form of slavery. He even referred to the police as “slave-catchers” in one of his pieces.
Lutalo kept his sanity by ripping up newspapers and putting together collages that showed his emotional state at the time of his incarceration. The artwork expressed his feelings about the political system and his belief that no one should have to deal with solitary confinement as punishment.
Judith Vazquez’ artwork showed a very different story. Her drawings reflected someone who compared prison to hell, and how she wished she could claw through the walls to freedom that is waiting on the other side.
The Prison Voices Exhibit doesn’t explain what some of these inmates did to receive their long-term sentence, but instead through art, asks you to take a long look at our penal system.
The exhibit will be at Princeton University until April 3rd and will leaving you asking yourself, whether or not long-term solitary confinement is ever a justified punishment?Watch Chasing New Jersey weeknights at 10pm on My9 and don’t forget to like us on Facebook!