Seven Days in Solitary [5/3/15]

Cell LightThe following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts.

• A 64-year old man was found dead in his cell at San Quentin Prison. He had spent 14 years on California’s death row where 752 people still remain.

• A crisis intervention specialist recounts her experience of meeting with a man incarcerated in a California supermax prison and describes the on-going crisis of mental health care in the correctional system.

• Raymond Luc Levasseur tells WBUR about “walking into a tomb,” his experience of five years in ADX, the federal supermax in Colorado, where Dzokhar Tsarnaev would serve a life sentence if spared the death penalty

• Three guards were indicted on charges including involuntary manslaughter and civil rights violations in the 2009 death of a young patient with schizophrenia at Bridgewater State Hospital. The case was reinvestigated by a special prosecutor after revelations that led to the firing of the guards and the resignation of the Massachusetts state Corrections Commissioner.

• Shocking surveillance video showed a man held at a Louisiana parish jail thrown to the ground by a guard, attacked by a dog while on the ground, and then stomped and kicked by the guard. Prison officials fired the guard two years after the incident, while the third federal investigation in three years into the parish is underway.

• According to a recent report, the number of people with mental illness in US prisons and jails is ten times the number of patients in state psychiatric hospitals.

• Florida’s state House ended its legislative session early, ending the possibility of prison reform legislation passing this session. State Senators had been pushing for an independent commission against a backdrop of widespread reports of abuse, including the arrest of two prison guards and one former prison worker accused of being KKK members and of plotting to kill a formerly incarcerated man.

•  A man held in solitary confinement in Pelican Bay for five years describes meeting the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, whose review of solitary confinement led to his conclusion that more than 15 days in solitary constituted torture.

• A survivor of 2,054 days in solitary confinement describes the HALT Solitary Confinement Act, a bill introduced in the NYS legislature, as the best hope for the 4,500 people held in solitary in New York.

• New York City council members introduced 10 bills to increase transparency and strengthen the rights of people held on Rikers Island and in other city jails, including reporting on the controversial Enhanced Security Housing (ESH) units.

• One man has been held in administrative segregation in Texas for thirty years.

• Locked [In] depicts the horrors of youth living in solitary confinement, accompanied by the poetry of Gabriel Cortez.

Activists rally in the New York State Capitol after a day of lobbying for the HALT Solitary Confinement Act.

Legislation Limiting Solitary Confinement in New York Gains Momentum

A bill to significantly limit the use solitary confinement in New York state prison and local jails gained momentum last week, after nine Assembly members and two state senators agreed to support the legislation. The new sponsorships, secured after a day of lobbying that brought more than 120 activists to Albany from around the state, […]

Solitary confinement news roundup: 7 Days in Solitary

Seven Days in Solitary [4/26/2015]

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • Three women held at Kernes County Residential Center have sued Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as the GEO Group, the corporation that runs the detention center. The women […]

CaliforniaPrison

American Outcasts: U.S. Prisons and Modern Day Banishment

  The following article was published on Wednesday on The Intercept. It was written with the support of a fellowship from the Alicia Patterson Foundation. In 1986, Patty Prewitt was sent to prison for the murder of her husband. In addition to maintaining her innocence, she, like many others her age, has also been a […]

COOEY

At Ohio’s Supermax Prison, a Hunger Strike Ends But Extreme Isolation Remains

Last week, men incarcerated at Ohio’s supermax prison, the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, brought a month-long hunger strike to a close. Between 30 and 40 men had refused all meals since March 16 to protest new restrictions placed on already severely limited recreation and programming for those in solitary confinement. On Wednesday, April 15, […]

Cell Light

Seven Days in Solitary [4/19/2015]

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports, and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • A California judge ordered a remediation plan in a lawsuit over conditions at Monterey County jail that included the placement of people with serious mental illness in solitary confinement. […]

A cell in the Pelican Bay SHU, where the writer lived for two decades.

Voices from Solitary: The Safari from Pelikkkan Bay

Kijana Tashiri Askari has been in solitary confinement since 1994 after he was “validated” as a member of the Black Guerrilla Family. Until recently in California’s prisons, people who were validated as gang members were sentenced to indeterminate stays in the Security Housing Unit (SHU), where they spent nearly 24 hours in windowless cells. In […]

Solitary confinement news roundup: 7 Days in Solitary

Seven Days in Solitary [4/12/2015]

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • A student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison wrote a piece for the Huffington Post calling for the end of youth solitary in prisons across the country. A bill to end […]

Solitary Watch Newsletter – Spring, 2015

Solitary Watch Spring 2015 Print Edition

For the past four years, Solitary Watch has been sending a quarterly print edition, with selected stories from the website, to individuals in solitary confinement. Our list now numbers more than 1,500. If you know someone inside who would like to receive our mailings, please email their address to info@solitarywatch.com, or send it to Solitary […]

Solitary confinement news roundup: 7 Days in Solitary

Seven Days in Solitary [4/05/2015]

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • Slate published an article about a program instituted in Washington state, which is “premised… on the idea that every prisoner, even the so-called worst of the worst, deserves a […]

adx-cell (1)

Voices from ADX: Living “Inside America’s Toughest Prison”

The New York Times Magazine feature story on the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum, or ADX, in Florence, Colorado, appeared under the headline “Inside America’s Toughest Prison.” In fact, no journalist has been inside ADX for at least 15 years, but 400 men live there, some for years or decades. The story has suddenly spurred interest […]

Advocates Call for Changes to Segregation Practices in Wisconsin

Officials, Advocates Call for Restrictions on Solitary Confinement in Wisconsin

In January of this year, the Wisconsin prison system implemented new policies which will revamp the way in which solitary confinement is used as a correction measure against prisoners violating prison rules. While the Legislature endorsed the changes, guards, people in prison, and prison activists say that it remains unclear whether the adjustments means fewer people will […]

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