In August, the Charlotte Observer wrote about the plight of Jason Swain, a 41-year-old mentally ill North Carolina inmate who spent more than 13 years in solitary confinement at Central Prison in Raleigh for aiding and abetting murder.

Those in solitary confinement usually spend 22-24 hours a day in their cells. When prisoners are allowed to leave their cells for showers or therapy, they are handcuffed and accompanied by guards. About 2,500 North Carolina inmates were in solitary confinement as of July. Swain was one of seven inmates who had been placed in solitary for more than 10 years, according to the State Department of Public Safety. 

Swain was cited for more than 240 infractions involving injuring himself, threatening officers, and other offenses. His case attracted the attention of human rights experts nationwide. Now, prison officials have released Swain from solitary and let him visit with his mother for the first time in 17 years.