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Solitary In Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America's Prisons.

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SHANE BAUER
Shane Bauer, center, addresses reporters as Josh Fattal, right, stands with Sarah Shourd on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) | AP

IT'S BEEN SEVEN MONTHS since I've been inside a prison cell. Now I'm back, sort of. The experience is eerily like my dreams, where I am a prisoner in another man's cell. Like the cell I go back to in my sleep, this one is built for solitary confinement. I'm taking intermittent, heaving breaths, like I can't get enough air. This still happens to me from time to time, especially in tight spaces. At a little over 11 by 7 feet, this cell is smaller than any I've ever inhabited. You can't pace in it.

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