Thomas Silverstein, a prisoner in ADX supermax prison in Colorado who had the nickname “Terrible Tommy” died on May 11, 2019, from heart issues after he was transferred St. Anthony Hospital. He was 67 years old.
Silverstein was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood white supremacist group and murdered three people. He was considered one of the most dangerous prisoners in America.
After trying to stab Merle Clutts with a homemade shank repeatedly, he was placed in isolation. The cell he was placed in was not only soundproof, but the lights were kept on around the clock.
Silverstein was also not permitted to have contact with other people. It is thought Silverstein held the record for being in solitary confinement in the United States federal penitentiary.
After being convicted for robbery in 1978, he started his prison sentence. While locked up in Kansas, he was transferred to a Marion, Illinois, maximum-security prison, after he allegedly murdered a fellow inmate.
This conviction was eventually overturned. However, when he was in the Marion prison, he killed a correctional officer and two fellow inmates.
Authorities found Silverstein to be a danger, and he was transferred to an Atlanta federal prison. While there, he was locked in a cell 6-by-7 foot. The lights were on 24/7, and he continuously monitored, and not permitted to have human contact.
Silverstein sued for his treatment and said he was not permitted to wear clothes, only his underwear. A bright light was on always, and he was not allowed phone calls of visits. He was only allowed to read the bible.
In 2014 the U.S. Court of Appeals heard the lawsuit and ruled that the three decades Silverstein spent in solitary confinement were not a violation of his constitutional rights.
The judges felt that the claims Silverstein had that he was suffering from memory loss, depression, and anxiety were not proven to have been caused by his isolation.
Written by Barbara Sobel
The Denver Post: Colorado inmate with longest solitary confinement in federal prison dies in Lakewood
The Mirror: Killer dies after 35 years in soundproof cell with lights kept on 24 hours a day
CNN: A federal prisoner believed to have spent the longest time in solitary confinement has died
Featured and Top Image Courtesy Of Federal Bureau of Prisons – Public Domain