Imagine a man serving a 20-year prison sentence. He’s told when to eat and what to wear, and he lacks the option of opening a door. He has little to no independence or free will.
This man, like so many prisoners in North Carolina, spends a long time in solitary confinement. Solitary confinement, also called “the hole,” is used for disciplinary purposes. It means this man is alone in an eight by 10-foot concrete cell. He’s allowed one hour of “recreation time” five days a week in a cage outdoors. Anytime he moves from his cell, he’s handcuffed and shackled.
Upon completion of his sentence, this man — in full restraints— is escorted to the prison exit. He’s loaded into a van and driven by prison staff into a community, removed from the extremely controlled environment he has known for two decades.
In an hour, he’s in Walmart with your wife and kids, unshackled and unmonitored.