In 2005, Vicky Gunderson’s 17-year-old son, Kirk (pictured above), committed suicide while in solitary confinement in a Wisconsin jail. Here’s her story:
“As a mother, not being able to hug and comfort my son when he was alone in a concrete box was like the worst form of hell. Knowing our son Kirk ended his own life while being held in solitary confinement, after he requested to not be left alone…I cannot describe that to you. Kirk was only 17. It was two days after Christmas.
Since Kirk’s death I’ve learned that kids as young as 13 are locked up in cells away from human contact for days or months at a time all across the country. It has a devastating impact on their development, especially for those with mental health problems.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has announced a review of its use of solitary confinement. As part of that process, Attorney General Holder can ban the solitary confinement of young people in the care of the federal government. That would help set a standard for all facilities across the country, like the jail where Kirk died.
Please join me in calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to ban solitary confinement of youth held by the federal government.”