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.

• At a Nebraska legislative committee, two ombudsmen testified that they feared Nikko Jenkins would become violent if released, and attempted for years to get him treatment and assistance transitioning. Their pleas were ignored. Jenkins, who had spent three and a half years in solitary confinement, killed four people within ten days of getting released.

• A 36-year-old Florida serving 22 months for tax fraud was found dead in her solitary confinement cell on October 1, just days after she wrote letters home specifying that a guard had threatened to kill her. Lawyers for the family have requested an investigation be conducted by the Department of Justice.

• Writing for PS Mag, Lauren Kirchner explores “Why Solitary Confinement Hurts Juveniles More Than Adults.”

• At a New York City Council hearing, Council member Daniel Dromm made reference to last week’s New Yorker story about Kalief Browder, who spent nearly 800 days in solitary confinement after being wrongly accused of stealing a backpack. “Officials on Rikers subjected this child to torture. There’s no other way to put it,” he said. Meanwhile, the New York Times editorial board called for federal oversight of Rikers Island.

• In past years at least three individuals have died at Bridgewater State Hospital, Massachusetts’ prison for those with mental illness, as a result of being strapped to bed and placed in almost complete isolation, according to the Boston Globe. Bradley Burns, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, spent about 16 months completely immobilized before he died of a heart arrhythmia likely brought on by his medications and the restraints.

• A federal lawsuit filed against Vermont prison officials details the case of “Patient A,” who was meant to serve a 21-day sentence on a parole violation but ended up spending seven months in solitary confinement. According to the lawsuit, the man “suffered significant physical and psychological harm … including psychotic breaks, malnutrition and weight loss, bruises and trauma from uses of force,”

• The Epoch Times published an article about the No Separate Justice campaign and the conditions of confinement endured by terrorism suspects.

• October 10 was the 12th World Day Against the Death Penalty. In this video, Dr. Terry Kupers explains “how the decision to move death row to solitary confinement units in many prisons has compounded mental health issues among prisoners – a clear violation of human rights standards.”

  • Erika Zauzig

    I can’t begin to tell how angry I am over the deaths of the three patients at Bridgewater State Hospital. These men were tortured to death by cruel, sadistic and lazy staff members. You shouldn’t get the death penalty because of mentally ill.- especially
    at a psychiatric hospital. The mentally ill in
    prison are also killed by cruel, sadistic and lazy prison staff members who are negligent or outright abusive. Mentally ill prisoners are frequently encouraged to commit suicide and are frequently driven to
    kill themselves because of this relentless abuse and cruelty.
    P

  • Erika Zauzig

    I can’t begin to tell how angry I am over the deaths of the three patients at Bridgewater State Hospital. These men were tortured to death by cruel, sadistic and lazy staff members. You shouldn’t get the death penalty because of being mentally ill.- especially
    at a psychiatric hospital. The mentally ill in
    prison are also killed by cruel, sadistic and lazy prison staff members who are negligent or outright abusive. Mentally ill prisoners are frequently encouraged to commit suicide and are frequently driven to
    kill themselves because of this relentless abuse and cruelty.