Fahad Hashmi Joins 1,400 Others in the Solitary Confinement Capital of the World

A letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder today by several civil rights groups expresses “urgent concern about Syed Fahad Hashmi’s conditions of confinement.” The letter, from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the Council on American-Islamic Relations of New York (CAIR-NY), Educators for Civil Liberties, and the Muslim Justice Initiative, reads in part: For nearly three years before his case […]

Criminalizing Mental Illness

Yesterday, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) issued a compilation of staggering statistics on the criminalization of people with mental illness in the United States. As NAMI points out, “Over the past 20 years, state spending on correctional systems has increased 350 percent from $10 billion to $45 billion,” while the same states have cut […]

Angola Prison May Close Lockdown Unit--But Vows to Keep Inmates in Isolation

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that the Louisiana Department of Corrections “is contemplating the sale of prisons and the closure of an inmate isolation unit in order to cut costs during difficult budget times.” Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc told the Advocate, “Everything has to be put on the table” to deal with massive state budget deficits. […]

Teen Held in Solitary in Tennessee Jail Because He Can't Make Bail

CHILDREN IN LOCKDOWN Second Class Justice is a first-class new blog published by Stephen B. Bright, who heads the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. It’s primary aim is “ending the unfair and discriminatory treatment of people in the criminal justice system by documenting that treatment.” It’s mission statement continues: Contrary to the constitutional guarantees […]

All-American Prison Torture

After reading our post on Cañon City, Colorado, a reader called our attention to a piece on the Huffington Post by Anne-Marie Cusac called “Torture Is American.” As an investigative reporter for The Progressive, Cusac wrote about devices of torture in U.S. prisons, including Tasers, restraint chairs, and stun belts, as well as solitary confinement; she has […]

Leaving Cañon City

Solitary Watch spent last week in Colorado. We talked with faculty and students at the University of Denver Law School’s Civil Rights Clinic, which has mounted several groundbreaking legal challenges to solitary confinement. In the coming weeks we will be writing about these individual cases, as well as what we learned from meetings with other […]