The U.S. penitentiary in Thomson, Illinois (above). BE told them he was locked down nearly 24 hours a day with a cellmate, in cells so small that the toilet was crammed next to the bottom bunk. He was let out only for occasional medical appointments, showers or an hour of exercise in an outdoor cage. He could hear guards in riot gear blasting men on his tier with pepper spray and locking them in hard restraints. His own wrists, ankles and abdomen were scarred from these shackles — prisoners called it the “Thomson tattoo,” according to attorneys.