Man locked in solitary confinement for 2 years on a DWI charge awarded $22 million.

Man locked in solitary confinement for 2 years on a DWI charge awarded $22 million.

A man has been awarded one of the largest prisoner civil suit settlements in the country after receiving $22 million for suffering inhumane treatment at the hands of authorities after he was arrested in 2005 whilst driving intoxicated and then locked in solitary confinement for 2 years at New Mexico’s Dona Ana County Jail.

In the suit, Stephen Slevin claims he never got a trial, instead languishing in solitary confinement for a period of 2 years. So ignored was he, Mr Slevin was forced to pull out one of his own front teeth after he was continuously passed over for dental care.

nbcdfw: “‘[Prison officials were] walking by me every day, watching me deteriorate,” he said. “Day after day after day, they did nothing, nothing at all, to get me any help.”

Slevin said he made countless requests to see a doctor to get medication for his depression, but wasn’t allowed to see one until only a few weeks before his release. He also never got to see a judge.

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Are we to assume Mr Slevin was an imminent threat to authorities? Was he a maladjusted prisoner? Or was he simply the victim of a capricious local jail that relished in punishing him and or others like him? Or worse was Mr Slevin a victim of a systematic attitude amongst authorities towards those who find themselves locked up? What then does this suggest about the way crime and punishment is applied? Or is this just a one off case whereby the criminal system would normally work hand in hand with the rights of those incarcerated?

Offers Mr Slevin:

“I wanted people to know that there are people at The Dona Ana County Jail that are doing things like this to people and getting away with it,” Slevin, who now suffers from PTSD and believes he will have to take medication for life as a result, said. “Why they did what they did, I have no idea.”

When we say live in a free country what do we really mean when instances like Mr Slevin’s situation come to the fore? Perhaps freedom is but an illusion and one given mercurially .

theindependent.co.ukThe case throws an uncomfortable light on the use of solitary confinement in the US justice system. At present, an estimated 50,000 inmates are housed in such circumstances, sometimes for years at a time. Dona Ana County had previously offered Mr Slevin $2m to drop his compensation case. It pledged to appeal the $22m award, saying: “we believe we have strong legal issues to raise.”

Authorities to date have declined to further comment on Mr Slevin’s case. Then again are you surprised?

Man locked in solitary confinement for 2 years on a DWI charge awarded $22 million.

Can you guess why Mr Slevin has long hair in this photo, taken after being incarcerated for 2 years in solitary confinement?

  • Mariajose

    I hope that the people on that jail all die in paranormal circumstances, you are cursed for life employes of Dona Ana County

  • MikeNZ

    Human beings respond well to fair treatment, nice behaviour and knowledge that their basic needs and rights are going to be met, and respected. Violate that code of conduct, and expect trouble.Most Americans reading this should be scared. Really Really Scared.There is a reason Jesse Ventura left to live in Mexico. 

  • InDisbelief

    AGAIN…yet another example of HOW our justice system is BROKEN!  Someone that is DUI can get 2 years in Solitary Confinement but a murderer goes free?

    How much worse is it going to get before something is done?  Clean out all the DIRTY cops & officials!  Its DEFINITELY time for a change there!

  • InDisbelief

    And why is that?  To clean it up or make things worse?

  • Perryrants

    seems that it was after all, well worth the time spent.