Years ago, when I first entered the Texas prison system, I was shocked by the treatment and conditions prisoners are forced to endure. I thought that, surely, this could be changed. Even Timothy McVeigh lived in a clean, comfortable cell free from pests and was afforded normal privileges like being able to have a TV to occupy the endless solitude of his death-row cell. Every other prison in this nation, as far as I know, allows these things, but not in Texas. The very thought of any form of convenience, or an effort to improve the quality of life is rejected with extreme prejudice. Long-term solitary confinement produces an assortment of psychological reactions. Few prisoners are unaffected. Reaction is evident in behaviours that range from the withdrawn, reclusive personality to the hyper verbally combative paranoid types. Many prisoners have been placed on antipsychotic drugs. Most of these individuals are not suffering from the normal, or common, mental issues. They are developing stress, depression, and psychotic behavior that is a product of the treatment, conditions, and isolation they are forced to live with. Many people are unable to cope. The prison responds in a two-fold manner. The warden and his administration handle the prisoner's physical placement and respond to any security concerns. The medical staff, which is under different management, deals with the mental complications that result from whatever the administration inflicts on its captives. The guards walk the runs, provoking, harassing, and subjecting the prisoners to often idiotic enforcement of petty rules, and new, or otherwise never- before-enforced policies that are ever-changing and designed to torment. The psychological staff makes occasional rounds, or walk- throughs, with clipboards, inquiring in an uncaring way about each prisoners' well-being. "How are you doing today?" to which most people normally just tell them to get the fuck on, or "bump it on down." These responses are driven by the obvious reality that these people do not care. Any attempt to seriously talk to them—even about some kind of serious mental issue—elicits no concern. They come around and mark on their clipboards, doing what they feel is essential in meeting their legal definition of adequate care. But it is obvious to even the most seriously mentally ill inmate in this prison that they are calloused and uncaring concerning our circumstances and the way we are being treated. In a recent article, Time magazine focused on the rising numbers of suicides linked to long-term solitary confinement, including those in Texas prisons. I have personally witnessed numerous suicides in my eight years here. In a recent incident on my cellblock and row, a prisoner named Jason hung himself. He was found during evening meal time. The female guard went to the back of the row to begin opening the bean slots, and she found Jason hanging on his cell door. The guards are supposed to make security rounds every 30 minutes, but they never do. That was evident in the fact that Jason had been dead so long that rigor mortis had set in, and his head, which was tilted downward toward his chest as he hung from the rope, remained frozen in position even after he was cut down and laid on the concrete floor. He had removed all his clothing before hanging himself. Prison officials are not always responsible in a direct sense for a prisoner's suicide. But a month earlier, Jason had threatened to cut his throat with a razor blade. The psychologist was called, and a number of guards stood outside his cell waiting to do a cell extraction in the event that Jason refused to surrender the weapon..