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(AURN) -- "How big is a cell?" a question posed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to the highest ranking prison official in the nation, Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons Charles Samuels. Samuels found himself stumped by the question initially answering that the average solitary confinement cell was 6 by 4 feet. If this answer were correct the vast majority of American inmates would spend their entire time in solitary confinement unable to lie down.
Samuels took about a minute to answer the question, repeatedly insisting Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) clarify the question.
Samuels, who has been with the Bureau since 1988, stirred up quite a bit of controvery in his inability to answer what many would consider a basic question for someone who is expected to possess a superior level of knowledge of the U.S. prison system.
At one point a frustrated Franken turned to the crowd asking, “Am I asking this wrong?” Samuels later revised his statement saying the dimensions were 12 by 7 feet. Representatives of the ACLU told the Huffington Post Samuels' inability to answer the question in a timely and correct manner makes them wonder about the tools used by prison officials to measure the human toll of solitary confinement.
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