11/09/2012 01:27 pm ET

Is Solitary Confinement Torture? Exonerated Death Row Inmate Opens Up About "Animal" Prison Treatment (VIDEO)

“It was hell. It was torture every day,” said Anthony Graves, an exonerated death row inmate and activist, of the almost ten years he spent in solitary confinement. Graves opened up about the personal horror he faced in solitary during an interview with host Alyona Minkovski on HuffPost Live.

“You’re caged in like an animal. You’re in a little eight-by-twelve foot cage, and you’re just existing. You’re existing behind some inhumane conditions. So it was hell every day.”

Researchers from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics estimate that there are 80,000 prisoners currently being held in restrictive housing in the United States. Many activists and experts believe that by human rights standards, solitary confinement is tantamount to torture.

“It breaks your will to live. It breaks your spirit,” Graves said. “I don’t think you can get anything positive out of that.”

Joining Graves and Minkovski to discuss whether solitary confinement is a form of torture were Andy Stepanian, a publicist at the Sparrow Project and HuffPost blogger, Azadeh Zohrabia, a Soros Justice fellow whose brother is currently in solitary confinement, Bonnie Kerness, the founder of American Friends Service Committee, and Shane Bauer, an investigative journalist.

Watch the full segment on HuffPost Live.