Huffpost Crime

The Living Dead: HuffPost Live Talks To Exonerated Death Row Inmate Anthony Graves

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Twenty years ago, a Texas judge sentenced Anthony Graves to death for six murders he did not commit. He spent eighteen years in prison, twelve of them on death row. For most of that time, he was in solitary confinement -- locked in an eight by twelve cell, reinforced by a steel door.

Throughout his incarceration, Graves maintained his innocence and was finally exonerated in 2010. Now an activist working to create awareness around prisoner isolation, he testified before a congressional subcommittee, describing the emotional torture he endured and the mental anguish of his prison mates.

Friday, he joined HuffPost Live -- to tell his story again and describe how his many years in the hole impacted his life. He told Jacob Soboroff that solitary confinement is "a world that I could never describe that you would truly understand." He said, "to confine someone like that is to break them down in every aspect of their being -- emotionally, spiritually, whatever you can think of. It just breaks a man's will to live."

Joining Graves in the conversation was Alan Mills, an attorney who represents isolated prisoners at an Illinois supermax prison, and Richard Sawyer, a law student and activist with the Jails Action Committee. Both are working to end the practice of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons.

Watch a clip of Graves' moving story above and our full discussion on solitary confinement below: