A friend passes on a letter from a California prison inmate who was transferred to a dreaded Special Housing Unit (SHU) where the rule is no human contact. Amnesty International has called such conditions "torture."

I just got a letter from him, the first since he arrived at the SHU. Thought you might be interested in some comments (slightly edited, mosly to remove the profanity–he says he hasn’t cursed this much in years)

"When I got here, I got my state issue, which consists of 2 blankets, 2 sheets, 1 pillow case, 1 towel, 1 shirt, 2 boxers, and 2 socks. That’s your linen. I also got 1 spoon, 1 cup, 1 toothbrush, 1/2 bar of soap, 1 roll of toilet paper, some tooth powder, 1 ink pen refill, 2 metered envelopes, and 2 sheets of paper. Am I rolling or what?
My mom sent me stamped envelopes and paper three times, but each time they got sent back. Come to find out I can’t receive writing paper, but I can receive stamps and envelopes. Stupidist thing I ever heard. If I can’t have paper to write on, what’s the point of getting stamped envelopes?
I had to send all of my personal property home– my TV, my radio, my CD player, my typewriter, my books, everything. I’m bouncing off the walls. I haven’t read a book in almost two months. They have no functioning library here. The bottom line is that if you don’t have money on your books or people on the street looking out for you, you’re screwed. I’ve been sitting here with nothing but my "state issue" for two months."

What is the point is locking someone up virtually 24/7 with no human contact and nothing to do except to deliberately drive them crazy? Someone who was in a SHU for a long time once told me, ‘when they let you out, you’re a walking time bomb.’