ATLANTA — Sometimes, Pamela Winn isn’t sure how to connect with people, even those she loves, like her 9-month-old granddaughter. When the baby is in her arms, “I sit there quietly, and I don’t know what to say. What to do,” she said, her eyes filling with tears. “My socializing skills are just not there anymore.”
On days like these, Winn, who lives south of Atlanta, is haunted by the memory of her 6-by-9-foot prison cell, where she spent eight months in solitary confinement more than 10 years ago. She said she now feels “safest when I’m by myself.”
It’s a common paradox of solitary confinement, said Craig Haney, a professor of social psychology at the University of California-Santa Cruz. Instead of craving the company of others after release from social isolation, many former prisoners want just the opposite.
“Solitary forces prisoners to live in a world without people,” he