Isolation and Solitude

  • Inmates in all U.S. federal prisons “will be secured in their assigned cells/quarters” for 14 days beginning on April 1 to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Bureau of Prisons announced on Tuesday.

I read the news above, and it brought back memories. I experienced several lockdown and each was miserable. What the BOP doesn’t tell the public is that the food for those next few weeks is scaled way back to very little and that the solitude in a cell takes quite an adjustment. Customary amenities of getting mail, calls to love ones, a walk around the grounds, or receiving news are all cut off. In many ways, it is a lot like solitary for 200,000 people at one time. The longest period I experienced lockdown was right before the OJ Simpson verdict. The BOP officials worried about riots if OJ was convicted.

I tell you this during Lent and all the forced quarantines going on because for most of America right now we are experiencing a form of lockdown, not as severe, but a lockdown so to speak. Like many other forms of suffering what is important is how we deal with our misery. We can whine, complain, or get angry but nobody is listening. On the other hand, we can make our own form of lockdown as an opportunity. We can pray and seek the comfort of God. We can meditate. We can sing or play an instrument. (By the way Suzy has asked I not sing. What might be fun for me would be her torture.) There are a thousand positive things one can do during this time of isolation.

Monks used to go into isolation and solitude durning the Lenten season. They felt closer to God and more at peace than ever before. I hope for each of my readers they will come out of this world crisis more at peace and closer to God than ever before.

About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.


  1. ‘God’ thoughts; we need them right now. True solitude has its merits and challenges. Confinement with another person certainly introduces another level of complexity that provides additional challenges. Allowing for outburst, misunderstandings, even the siplest of miscommunications can help preserve order, good feelings and comfort in being together.
    I admire our children dealing with home school, economic threats and just the now increased demands of everyday living w/o the normal alleviations of sports, parties , sleep overs and the like – I do find it daunting and they are doing well at it.
    Basically I think our parenting was way above average! Will give God and faith a big part of the credit.

  2. Davis, it is amazing what our children are doing during this period. Should make for great stories in their future. Webb.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *