A Bronx woman who was jailed for three years over an attempted murder charge — a crime she did not commit — had to face trial for various other crimes allegedly committed during her imprisonment.
Candie Hailey was imprisoned on Rikers Island awaiting trial for 29 months — 27 of which were spent in solitary confinement— before being acquitted by a jury and freed last spring.
However, it appeared the 32-year-old’s struggles were far from over when she was once again brought to trial over alleged charges she had amassed during her time in solitary, including breaking a chair used for scanning body cavities.
On Monday, Hailey agreed to plead guilty to four counts of disorderly conduct and a non-criminal violation, in exchange for the prosecutors dismissing felony and misdemeanor charges left over from her time in jail.
Exactly which charges were dropped remains unknown.
A jail captain testified she did not see Hailey breaking the chair, only heard it. Hailey’s lawyer asked how she possibly could've done that while wearing protective mitts designed to prevent her from holding anything.
During her confinement, Hailey, who was diagnosed with a borderline character disorder and anti-social personality disorder, quickly grabbed hold of the oldest trick in the book: act out of order and you get out, if only for mental treatment.
"I would take the feces and I put it all over me," she recalls. "I said, 'If you're gonna treat me like a dog, I'm gonna act like one.'"
However, her plan apparently kept backfiring as she wasn’t a candidate for units for the more seriously mentally ill and the only mental health care she received was brief consultations from behind bars.
Hailey’s defiance was a common reaction in light of the fact that she was convicted unfairly and had to spend large amounts of time in solitary. Research has shown that solitary confinement can be psychologically distressing, especially so for prisoners who go into it with preexisting mental disorders.
Even though long-term use of solitary confinement is increasingly being challenged — even by President Obama who last month banned its use for juvenile and low-level offenders — it is still used widely as a correctional medium for disorderly inmates.
Contrary to the speed it took to clear her of various misdemeanors, Hailey experienced the opposite while on trial for the attempted murder; it took 29 months to see her day in court.
Her case is the complete opposite of a Norwegian mass murderer who is suing his country because his expansive, three-room cell — which is better than some 5-star hotels — is “inhumane.”
Related: Black Panther Prisoner Freed After 43 Years In Solitary Confinement