While imprisoned in Santa Rita Prison in Dublin, Ashok Babu asserted that he was held in isolation for 23 hours a day for six weeks in the midst of a mental health crisis, something the United Nations equated with psychological torture. He then spent nearly 15 months on an “extensive probation record,” a form of suicide monitoring in which he was placed alone in a cell with only a hole in the floor to relieve himself. Individuals in this state cannot participate in entertainment or programming, are denied socks and underwear, and have no access to toothbrushes or other basic hygiene.
Babu is not alone in his treatment. He is one of eight plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against Alameda County in 2018. The lawsuit alleges that the prison denied medical treatment and punished those incarcerated for behavior stemming from their health conditions.