Solitary confinement news roundupThe 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.

• Federal investigators have determined that the state of Pennsylvania violated both the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment and the American with Disabilities Act, by placing people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities in isolation in state prisons. U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton said, “Pennsylvania’s unconstitutional use of solitary confinement on prisoners with serious mental health illness victimizes one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. We remain vigilant in protecting the constitutional rights of all of our citizens, particularly those with intellectual disabilities and serious mental illness.”

• Nine Illinois legislators toured Pontiac Correctional Center, a maximum-security facility that houses about 2,000 individuals.

• The Center for Investigative Reporting published a new multimedia piece on teens in solitary confinement, focusing on New York’s Rikers Island.

• In New York Magazine, Benjamin Wallace-Wells narrated the story behind last year’s 30,000-strong hunger strike at Pelican Bay Prison, describing the four men who initiated the strike and how they organized it.

•  Aeon published a long-form piece examining the existing scientific evidence that solitary confinement damages the brain.

• Andrew Cohen of The Atlantic called on readers to be more critical of Colorado Department of Corrections Director Rick Raemisch, who last week published an op-ed in the New York Times about the torturous night he spent in solitary confinement.  Cohen uses two cases studies to explore how Colorado’s recent reforms fall short of what is necessary.

• The ACLU launched a petition asking Secretary of State John Kerry to grant a request made by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Méndez to visit U.S. prisons, and in particular solitary confinement units.

• Last week’s Senate Committee hearing, “Reassessing Solitary Confinement II”, was covered by a wide variety of outlets, including Democracy Now, MSNBC, the Huffington Post, Esquire, the Washington Post and NPR. PBS interviewed members of the faith-based coalition that hosted the morning’s press conference. You can watch the entire hearing here.

• Mother Jones and In These Times covered the recent NYCLU settlement with the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, with both outlets musing whether the move signaled the beginning of a broader shift in policy.

  • cathy seymour

    Maricopa county 4th ave jail has one juvenile in smu1 max security he is 15 yrs old and has had illness since 7 yrs old . Allegations are of a detention officer NO MOTIVE. Awaiting trial. NO SCHOOL. No proper medication .approached by sheriff and was stripped down left for several
    hours was asked by sheriff arpaio himself why did you kill my detention officer. Was taken from court out on buzy street back from court with no vest and was told he is going to hell. His diagnosis is as follows adhd odd mood disorder depression and anger. Now he is hallucinating hearing voices and extreme anxiety. Please help stop this mad man. Innocent until proven guilty? ?? Or guilty until proven innocent. ..thank you this young man is my son leonard moreno. ..

  • http://prisonwatch.com cathy seymour

    Justice for juveniles.

  • KatMan

    There is NO LAW, ORDER or JUSTICE in the sham, kangaroo courts, star chambers masquerading as level playing field. There is NO SUCH THING as a “Fair Trial”.
    The STATE BAR UNION MEMBERS use spells & a foreign language aka “legalese”
    to manipulate, control innocent people that DO NOT know the game.
    In addition, THE STATE BAR UNION MEMBERS knowingly violate the Taft Hartley Act, using “film flams”, “simulated legal process”, “Mentally Incompetent Fact Witnesses” aka POLICE who are guilty of “Impersonating a “Peace Officer” as each does NOT know the difference between an “offense”, a “violation in the law” & a “crime” which makes them “Public Nuisances” & a dangerous health hazard to All abiding Citizens everywhere, “mail fraud”,et,al,