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StoryCorps: Staying in touch with someone in solitary confinement

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Sitawa Natambu Jamaa has been incarcerated for 33 years at the Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City; 23 of them in the Security Housing Unit, also known as the SHU. He spends most of his time—up to 22 hours a day—in a small, windowless cell. His charge is murder, though his sister Marie Levin says he did not commit the crime.

Maintaining a relationship with her brother has been hard for Levin. For 15 years, she didn’t visit him. She spoke about that experience for San Francisco’s StoryCorps.

"It was basically a 15-year span where I didn’t see him," said Levin. "It was easy to find out about my brother from my mother and my sister. It was less painful.

Click the player above to listen to the full interview