City Responds on Emergency Plans for Rikers Island

On Monday morning, after our story on Rikers Island and Hurricane Irene, highlighting the lack of any evacuation plan for New York City’s island jail, was widely circulated on websites, Facebook, and Twitter, we were contacted by Sharman Stein, Deputy Commissioner for Public Information at the New York City Department of Corrections. She wrote: “Every  single one of the […]

"Toxic Conditions": Testimony of Dr. Terry Kupers on Solitary Confinement

Dr. Terry Kupers, a clinical psychiatrist, professor at the Wright Institute Graduate School of Psychology, and expert in forensic mental health, spoke before the California Assembly Public Safety Committee on August 23rd, 2011 addressing the issue of solitary confinement and the need for reform of California’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). The document is also available […]

Locked Up and Left Behind: Hurricane Irene and the Prisoners on New York's Rikers Island

“We are not evacuating Rikers Island,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a news conference this afternoon. Bloomberg annouced a host  of extreme measures being taken by New York City in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, including a shutdown of the public transit system and the unprecedented mandatory evacuation of some 250,000 people from low-lying areas. […]

Voices from Solitary: "Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere"

The following letter was written by an inmate at the California Correctional Institution at Tehachapi, California, who had been placed in solitary confinement in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) after being “validated” as a gang member. Written on July 31st, the letter highlights institutional problems at CCI and makes various recommendations. It also declares support for the […]

“Give Us in Here the Strength to See This Thing Through”: A Chronicle of the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike

In March 2010, Julie Tackett, a Seattle-based activist inspired by her religious faith, began exchanging letters with Bryan, an inmate in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison in northern California. Neither could have anticipated the astonishing direction their correspondence would take. Bryan has been in solitary confinement in the prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) […]