This is an absolutely chilling example of just how depraved our justice system has become, and how detrimental to public safety the law-enforcers really are.
Stephen Slevin was locked in a New Mexico solitary confinement cell for 22 months. He was never convicted of any crime. Being locked away anywhere without due process is a horrid thought to any freedom-loving American, but what this man endured goes well beyond that.
Solitary confinement alone is considered by many to be inhumane, or downright torture by some definitions. Even under the most sanitary and well-monitored standards, the effects on a person's mental state can be devastating. Mr. Slevin spent his time rocking back and forth, and even lost his desire to go free while in his Dona Ana County Jail cell. But still, what he endured went beyond being locked away and completely forgotten about by the world.
Even under solitary confment conditions, it is common practice to allow prisoner one hour per day outside of their cell. In this case, that standard was rarely adhered to, even for sanitary reasons. Denied showers, Slevin's skin became infested with fungus. Denied basic hygiene maintenance, his toenails grew so long that they wrapped around his foot. Denied medical care, he was forced to rip his own tooth from his skull.
What he endured goes far beyond what any normal person can possibly even comprehend.
All of this, based on an allegation that he was driving while intoxicated in a stolen car. It was later shown that the car belonged to a friend, and the intoxication was never proven.
In a subsequent civil lawsuit brought by Slevin and his attorneys, he was awarded $22 million dollars, which has since been reduced to $16 million in arbitration. But the money will never replace what was lost, or repair the damage done.
Mr. Slevin is now battling cancer.
Click here to read NBC's coverage of this story.
Click here to see a video of how quickly an innocent person could wind up in this situation.
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