Solitary confinement cellThe 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 comprehensive new report, Inside the Box: The Real Costs of Solitary Confinement in New Mexico’s Prisons and Jails, was published this week by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico. The result of a year-long study, the report found that extreme isolation is routinely used on the incarcerated in New Mexico, including many with mental illness.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Story of Sam Mandez, a new film produced by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, had its debut last week in Denver. The film depicts “one inmate’s descent into madness and the penal system’s crazy reliance on “administrative segregation” to manage a wide range of behavior issues.”

KQED reports on a presentation by survivors of solitary confinement, along with artist Laurie Jo Reynolds, at the Creative Time conference on art and social activism. The author describes the performance and calls it “one of the most moving experiences of my so-called art life: an unscripted moment of profound humanity.”

• As the Los Angeles Times reports, that videotapes released by a federal court “show mentally ill prisoners in California being forced from their cells by guards who douse them repeatedly with pepper spray…Lawyers representing some 30,000 mentally ill prisoners say the tapes show excessive force, the abuse of men who may have little understanding of what is happening to them or why.”

• A commentary on the conservative website Red State calls solitary confinement “A Punishment in Need of Reform.”

• In an op-ed appearing in the Albany Times-Union, an “odd couple of prison reform” join to advocate for reform of prison isolation. Martin Horn, now of John Jay College, is a former corrections commissioner for the City of New York and the state of Pennsylvania; Michael Mushlin, now of Pace University Law School, is a past director of the New York City Legal Aid Society Prisoners’ Rights Project and author of Rights of Prisoners.

• The National Religious Campaign Against Torture has released a free “Human Rights Day Toolkit” for download by congregations and activists. The subject of the campaign for Human Rights Day (December 10) is “Solitary Confinement in an Age of Mass Incarceration.”

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