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.

• AP reporter Adam Geller published an investigation into why so many individuals with mental illness are held in solitary confinement in local jails across the country. He notes, “There has been little attention to the use of isolation in the country’s 3,300 local jails, increasingly the biggest mental health treatment centers in many communities.”

• The National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms held an event that explored the human rights abuses endured by terrorism suspects since 9/11, including the use of solitary confinement. Affected family members told their stories. A local community radio station covered the event.

• The Journal Star (Lincoln, NE) published an editorial criticizing the state’s “overuse” of solitary confinement and calling for reform.

• The BBC published an hour-long documentary about the efforts of the Maine State Prison to reduce the use of solitary confinement. (Video not available in the United States.)

• Florida’s Department of Corrections has fired 32 individuals accused of misconduct or illegal activity, including the officers recently sued for the death of incarcerated 27-year-old Randall Jordan-Aparo. He was serving an 18-month sentence when he was found dead in solitary confinement, allegedly as a result of being gassed multiple times with “noxious chemicals.”

• Mother Jones writer and solitary confinement survivor Shane Bauer published a critique of a recently released Atlantic article entitled “How Gangs Took Over Prisons.” Bauer is especially critical of the language used in the article to describe Pelican Bay’s Secure Housing Unit, which holds men in extended solitary confinement, sometimes for decades.

• George Lavender of In These Times published an interview with George Kendall Director of the Public Defender Initiative, who is representing Robert King and Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3 in their lawsuit against Louisiana prison officials. Woodfox has been in solitary confinement for over four decades; King spent 29 years in isolation before being released from prison in 2001.

• Matthew Hale, a 43-year-old self-proclaimed white supremacist incarcerated at the federal supermax in Florence, Colorado, has offered to drop his $19 million lawsuit against prison officials if he is permitted to play his violin in his cell. He was quoted as saying, “It’s really the kind of hubris, stupidity, and downright sadism that one should expect from the federal government… I suspect the defendants could not bear the thought of my actually enjoying myself by my being able to play my beloved violin in my prison cell.”

• Two Ohio law firms have filed suits alleging inhumane conditions at the Multi-County Juvenile Detention Center, on behalf of three individuals formerly incarcerated there. According to the lawsuit, young people at the jail were placed in solitary confinement for to up forty days, in cells with temperatures in the mid-50s.

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