Solitary confinement news roundup: 7 Days in SolitaryThe 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.

The American Civil Liberties Union has submitted letters to the Michigan Department of Corrections alleging widespread human rights violations at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Washtenaw; the organization claims that the prison is holding women with mental illness in solitary confinement, amongst other abuses. One professor who has interviewed those on the inside commented, “A lot of these women, they throw them in segregation for months on end are mentally ill … and then they deteriorate. It’s horrible to see them deteriorate.”

A 17-year-old sentenced to life in prison in the killing of a Korean War veteran, has also been ordered to spend each anniversary of the murder in solitary confinement. Jordan Legg, who won’t be eligible for parole for at least 20 years, will now spend every 30 March in isolation.

Albert Woodfox, the last remaining incarcerated member of the Angola 3, appeared in federal appeals court requesting legal permission to sue Louisiana prison officials for depriving him of “basic human needs” and violating his constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment. Woodfox has been held in solitary confinement nearly without break for the past forty years, the longest of any prisoner held in the United States.

The Director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project condemned Nebraska’s Department of Corrections for its “extraordinarily high” use of solitary confinement. According to questionnaires recently sent out by a legislative investigative committee, about 18.6% of the state’s inmates had been in some level of restrictive housing during the queried six-week period.

A 27-year-old Wisconsin man has been found not guilty by reason of insanity in the killing of three family members and committed to permanent hospitalization with no chance for appeal. According to Rashard Riddick’s defense attorney, the time he spent in prison as a young man contributed to his decline. “The consequences of nearly four years of solitary confinement was to transform Mr. Riddick from a troubled teenager into an extremely dangerous man…With no program for treating mentally ill inmates or aftercare for people held for long periods in isolation, Mr. Riddick was released into society (without rehabilitation) and with no support services. This cycle happens every day in our society, and the violent tragedies that ensue should surprise no one.”

 

 

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