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.

• California Senator Loni Hanock’s prison reform bill has passed through the Senate and now goes to the State Assembly.  Both prisoners and prisoners’ rights advocates have voiced their opposition to the legislation, since it writes into law the state’s policy of placing individuals in solitary merely for suspected gang membership.

• Lawyers for a man who recently pled guilty to killing a prison guard are now fighting to keep him out of the federal supermax facility in Florence, Colorado.  Attorneys for James Ninete Leon Guerrero explained that he “is not challenging the fact of his confinement, but rather the conditions of confinement.”  Guerrero has a documented intellectual disability and has also been diagnosed as bipolar.

• Solitary confinement survivor and Solitary Watch contributor Sarah Shourd published a piece in The Daily Beast entitled, “How solitary confinement destroys women.”

• A trial date has been set for a New Jersey Superior Court case brought by a prisoner who claims he was placed in solitary confinement without sufficient due process.   Lester Alford also hopes to prove that his time in solitary confinement – eight years and counting – amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.  In a letter last month to a local outlet, Alford described the conditions he has endured:  “I eat every meal that is served in my cell. If I am allowed to use the unit phone, I have to use it in my cell. I am not allowed to go to the law library, gym, or anywhere else inmates congregate. The conditions on the MCU unit (Management Control Unit) is one that can only be described as bleak, hopeless, and explosive.”

• The Colorado Independent published an in-depth analysis of last week’s federal ruling in Thomas Silverstein v. Federal Bureau of Prisons.  Silverstein, 62, has been held in complete isolation for 31 years – longer than any other federal prisoner.  The journalist quotes from an article posted last week on Solitary Watch by the site’s editors, Jean Casella and James Ridgeway.  Artwork made by Silverstein and his accounts of his conditions in solitary are also incorporated into the piece.

  • Katman

    ATTORNEYS are a disease, a blight on society as THEY run UNION SHOPS in violation of the Taft Hartley Act. STATE BAR UNION MEMBERS aka TRAITORS, NIHILISTS work in the shadows, have ex parte hearings & profit from grief & misery which THEY promote b/c Peace Officer IMPOSTERS aka “POLICE for profit & unjust enrichment” (civil forfeitures) w/o witnessing a crime under the Common Law of the land & / sea.
    WOE TO THE ATTORNEYS & their ENABLERS which includes SW.
    IFF you are NOT the solution – you are the problem.
    Legal fictions, fiction ins law, corporations aka persons are shadows.
    Are you a shadow of yourself or the real deal – a (hu)man made in G-d’s image?
    The shadow knows.

  • jay

    There’s defence attorney’s who work incredibly hard to fight for people’s lives and use their skills for good, iv come across one’s who are very rich and clever but on the back of that often support shaky cases for little fee.my mate Jo is a barrister in UK. She takes on the cases of people being evicted from their homes.she takes on the cases where corruption is an issue. Nice1Jo! Takeiteasy j.