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Voices From Inside

By: Cindy Rodriguez

Sedlis Dowdy, 42, at the maximum security state prison in Elmira, NY. (Amy Pearl/WNYC)

Sedlis Dowdy sat inside a quiet out-of-the-way room inside a maximum security prison in Elmira, New York, deep within layers of barbed wire and rings of heavy metal gates and guard stands.

To get here he had to pass in front of a row of noisy inmates locked in their cells. The skinny, 6-foot-2 inmate walked straight ahead and did not respond. Dowdy is 42 and mentally ill, and he doesn’t like being around a lot of people.

“Now I’m just schizophrenic,” he said. “But before I was schizo affective, bipolar, paranoid schizophrenic, depression.”

Dowdy is one of the 9,000 inmates who the state Department of Corrections says are mentally ill, some of them more so than others…

Originally posted on WNYC

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