Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary


Product Details

$24.95  $22.95
Haymarket Books
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.4 X 0.9 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Taylor Pendergrass is a lawyer and activist focused on criminal justice reform. He currently works for the American Civil Liberties Union. Mateo Hoke is writer, journalist, and co-editor of Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life Under Occupation.


"Some of the people in Six by Ten were convicted of crimes, but this book convicts the United States of an incomparably greater crime: blighting the lives and searing the souls of untold hundreds of thousands of men, women, and teenagers by a practice that more enlightened countries consider inhuman. You will not find a more riveting indictment anywhere of our reckless use of solitary confinement, nor one told through such a variety of moving, poignant voices."

--Adam Hochschild, author, King Leopold's Ghost

"The voices heard in this powerful collection are haunting. As these men and women make inescapably clear, the practice of removing human beings from everything that makes them sane and stable--keeping them for days, months, and years in utter isolation without light, touch, sound, space, and hope--is unimaginably cruel. Six by Ten is a deeply moving and profoundly unsettling wake up call for all citizens. The use of solitary confinement is deeply immoral and we must insist that it be banned in all of our nation's prisons. Immediately."

--Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy

"Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary, edited by Mateo Hoke and Taylor Pendergrass, compels change by giving a voice to the voiceless.

Solitary confinement is one of the dirty little secrets of America's criminal justice system; sure, people know it's there, but few know how often it's used or how detrimental it can be. Hoke and Pendergrass, through their experiences in journalism and law, respectively, know just how prevalent and virulent this blight is. In this book, they share the voices of those they've interviewed: people deeply affected by solitary confinement, including inmates, family members, and corrections officers.

The stories stop you in your tracks, but the appendices help move progress forward with simplicity, depth, and hope, beginning with ten things anyone can do that are impactful and accessible. The educational pieces of the book give apt background on the history and usage of solitary confinement, allowing even those examining the practice for the first time to have a firm grasp of the situation.

Six by Ten moves Americans to action for humanity and fairness in the criminal justice system."

--Foreword Reviews

Praise for other Voice of Witness books:

"Surviving Justice is a necessary truth telling that amplifies the voices of the countless wrongfully incarcerated sons, lovers, husbands, fathers, mothers, and daughters who languish in America's prisons. These oral histories give insight into the nature of the injustice to which they have been subjected, but also offer a way forward. I never could have written An American Marriage without the brave and thoughtful testimonies in this book."

--Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage and winner of the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award