Page 1 of 1 [ 2 posts ] 


User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 30,335
Location: Long Island, New York

19 Oct 2022, 9:57 am

’You feel inhuman’: Former Nebraska inmate with autism shares his experience

A former inmate of the Nebraska prison system is looking for change to be made after an experience he says left him feeling “inhuman.”

Cody Shafer, 25, said he still struggles with the “PTSD-like” impact that his time in restrictive housing had on him.

Cody was 19 when he was arrested with two others in 2017 for a string of robberies in Seward County. He began his sentence in 2019 on two felony charges and was discharged in 2021 after serving time in Lincoln, Omaha and Seward.

While he was incarcerated, Cody spent most of his time segregated from others because of his autism and mental health diagnoses.

“They put me into a room where you didn’t technically have a bed, it was just a slab of concrete in the middle of the room with two cameras in there… You feel inhuman, you feel like a lab pet,” he said. “It hurts. And the worst part is I know other people are experiencing this day in and day out. And yet other people are seeing this and not saying, ‘This is wrong.'”

The state does not use solitary confinement, as defined by Nebraska law. But inmates with disabilities or mental health problems are often placed in what the state calls restrictive housing.

Inmates placed in restrictive housing are kept separate from other offenders, and their out-of-cell time is reduced to less than 24 hours a week.

Inmates in the general population group are allowed, at a minimum, 42 hours a week out of their cells.

Both the Department of Correctional Services and the Community Corrections Center-Lincoln declined to comment for this story.

Cody said that without his dad advocating for him on the outside, he doesn’t know what would have happened.

“If I didn’t have an advocate like that by my side, I don’t think anyone would have really heard what I was saying. And I would have felt… hopeless, Cody said. “No one would have taken my actions, my emotions, and listened to them in a concerned way and say, ‘Hey, things have to change. Let’s help this person.’ ”

Scott Shafer, like many parents of children with autism, has taken it upon himself to advocate for his son, and now other inmates.

“I never really considered myself an activist or needing to be an activist until my son, who is high-functioning autistic, entered interaction with the justice system,” he said. “Even before that, through the schools, I learned very quickly, I had to educate myself. And with that education, there was almost no choice. If I wanted to be a parent and advocate for my son, I was going to take the knowledge I was equipped with and start fighting.”

With the help of Sen. Tom Brewer, the State Ombudsman’s Office and multiple organizations nationally, Scott was able to bring attention to his son’s needs. He said he is extremely thankful for the resources he has access to.

Scott has worked with the Seward County Detention Center to establish additional training for correctional staff and lawyers working with autistic inmates.

In the beginning of October, the state’s Jail Standards Board reached out to a national expert to take the first steps in better training staff as early as next spring. The board declined Channel 8’s request for comment.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman

Blue Jay
Blue Jay

User avatar

Joined: 4 Sep 2021
Gender: Non-binary
Posts: 91
Location: UK

30 Nov 2022, 6:27 am

Hi ASPartOfMe,

Julian Assange, the autistic accused by the CIA of espionage, is currently held in maximum security HMP Belmarsh, London. All he did was publish Chelsea Mannings files on Wikileaks that showed videos of American soldiers murdering innocent civilians. He showed the world that western state sponsored war crime was fact. It just so happens, the reason he is still in prison is because the very organisation (US Government) that committed these murders is the same organisation that is putting pressure on UK Government to extradite him to the US.

It therefore came as no surprise when evidence of a recent CIA plot to murder Julian Assange while incarcerated came to light.

Meanwhile, his poor wife and 2 young children are having to be without their autistic father.

Joe Biden could solve this, where is his humility.


'I am that which you seek to destroy'