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'Hellhole'

July 28, 1986

Your article (July 13) regarding conditions at Sybil Brand Institute concludes that the facility "is no hellhole." Such a facile conclusion flies in the face of persistent and internally consistent firsthand accounts I have heard during my past eight years as a criminal defense lawyer.

I have heard what I deem to be credible accounts of inadequate diet (particularly for pregnant women), removal of toilet paper and sanitary napkins as a form of punishment, apparently inept and indifferent medical care, a shortage of blanket and sweaters during the winter, some inmates sleeping on two-inch mats on the floor, constant filth, lack of basic toiletries, overcrowding, verbal abuse and deafening noise.

If this isn't your reporter's precise definition of "hell," it's pretty close in my book.

STEPHEN J. HILLMAN Santa Monica

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