Summary of a guestbook posting about Protective Custody (PC) housing

The following is a paraphrased account of Thomas Silverstein’s guestbook post on January 14th 2011 as a response to a viewer on his site. Originally on

Silverstein was first moved to a “Protective Custody” (PC) unit but was kept isolated from the others for the first few months. “D” unit was later reclassified as a “General Population” (GP) unit and a few high profile inmates joined him but most of the PC inmates remained.

He maintains that this is not safe for the PC population and the GP population is very uncomfortable with their presence there.

After years of isolation it took Silverstein a period of time to figure out how ADX operated.

When he realized who he was housed with he came to the conclusion that he was being set up in three ways.

First they seek to undermine his reputation by housing him with known informants (a practice that he has never heard of before). This makes other inmates question why he is being held there.

Secondly by surrounding him with informants the authorities hope to find a reason that they can point to keep him isolated. It doesn’t matter if the allegation is true or not, and he points out that these informants have every reason to lie in order to gain favors from staff but have nothing else to lose.

Thirdly by placing severely mentally ill inmates in adjacent cells they deprive him of rest. The howling and banging is continual and he points out that the lack of sleep hinders not only his but everyone’s ability to complete the step down program’s requirements. It also makes maintaining congenial interactions with staff difficult. Also it hinders their ability to complete the required educational classes.

He believes that there are two main reasons for mixing the mentally ill in with GP inmates trying to complete the step down program.

First staff hopes it will either drive him mad, hinder his ability to complete the program, or cause him to threaten the source of his discomfort any of which would give staff an excuse to keep him isolated.

Or he believes the staff may not want to admit that they are illegally housing the mentally ill.

He points out how informants manipulate the system to gain favors and how they attempt to involve him in their petty conflicts which incite.

He comments about the illogical shuffling of inmates between cells in a humorous account reminiscent of Abbott and Costellos’ Who’s on First skit. One of the cells has a plastic cover over the TV.

Unit “D” has been nick named Bombers row and this one cell is designed with two different inmates in mind. It seems the staff fears one of the two could build a bomb out of the electronics inside the TV but Tom asks “with what other ingredients?” Even the evil genius Ted Kaczynsk ake the Unabomber needed other ingredients. Right?

He signs off by pointing out that during the four hours it took him to write this all down the mentally ill inmate housed next to him, and connected by an air vent that allows the sound to freely enter his room, had never stopped ranting and raving in his multiple personalities. He points out that this is Cruel and Unusual Punishment and that it should not be allowed in any country. And I agree!