"I Never Will Abandon This Hope": Testimony of a Pelican Bay Hunger Striker on Solitary Confinement

Julie Tackett, an activist from Washington, attended the August 23rd hearing of the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee on the topic of California’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). She read testimony on behalf of her friend, Bryan, who has spent more than 16 years in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison and took part in […]

"A Form of Torture": Testimony of Laura Magnani on Solitary Confinement

Laura Magnani, Interim Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee in San Francisco, testified before the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee on the issue of solitary confinement. Magnani speaks about the findings of the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons, the circumstances of women in solitary confinement, and argues that prolonged solitary […]

Voices From Solitary: Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Was "the Only Way to Get the Word Out" About Prison Abuses

The following is excerpted from a letter from Alfred Sandoval, a Pelican Bay SHU inmate and one of the original leaders and participants in this summer’s three-week hunger strike. Addressed to “All Media, Prisons Supporters, etc.,” it was written on June 26th, a few days before the strike began. Sandoval describes his own experiences, and outlines a series of abuses […]

"The Destruction of the Human Spirit": Testimony of Rev. William McGarvey on Solitary Confinement

Reverend William McGarvey, a member of the national board of More Light Presbyterians and former chair for the Justice, Advocacy and Caring Committee of the Presbytery of San Francisco, spoke at the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee hearing on California’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). He was representing the Bay Area Religious Campaign Against Torture, a […]

Illinois Prisoner Says Years of Solitary Confinement Caused Mental Illness, Self-Mutilation

“Dear America” wrote Anthony Gay, who is being held in solitary confinement in Tamms supermax prison in Illinois, “It is like this place  is designed to  psychologically kill you. How could America be so cruel to its own people?… Is there a need to psychologically kill prisoners?” In Gay’s case, his lawyers claim, a seven-year term […]

"Pawns in a Failed Experiment": Testimony of Dr. Craig Haney on Solitary Confinement

Dr. Craig Haney, Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, testified before the California Assembly’s Committee on Public Safety on August 23rd, 2011 regarding the issue of California’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). Dr. Haney provides a historical overview of the use of solitary confinement, litigation and research on solitary confinement, and […]