Seven Days in Solitary [11/29/2015]

• A San Francisco federal jury awarded $25,000 to a Pelican Bay prisoner, Jesse Perez, whose cell was trashed in retaliation for his activism against solitary confinement. Before his cell was searched in October 2012 Perez had filed a lawsuit and published articles criticizing California’s use of isolation; jurors determined that guards had violated his free-speech […]

Shakeup in Alaska Prisons Targets "Overuse" of Solitary Confinement

Alaska’s prison system is “broken” according to Governor Bill Walker following a damning review of the Department of Corrections, including its overuse of solitary confinement and a recommendation for the practice to be used “sparingly and appropriately.” The review was ordered by Walker in August following highly-publicized outcry about a string of deaths of individuals […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/22/2015]

• An incarcerated journalist and survivor of solitary, Christopher Zoukis, reflects on his experiences for the Huffington Post. • According to the New York Daily News, NYC has agreed to pay $3.8 million to the family of a man who died while in solitary confinement on Rikers Island. Jason Echevarria, 25, died in August 2012 after swallowing […]

Judged Incompetent to Stand Trial, People with Mental Illness Still Languish in Pennsylvania Jails

Some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens—people facing criminal charges who are not competent to stand trial because of mental disabilities—have begun a class action lawsuit over the state’s provision of mental health treatment. Last month, eleven plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, sued the heads of a state agency and of the two state […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/15/2015]

• Nine individuals held in 23 and 24-hour isolation in Middlesex County jail’s C-pod have filed a lawsuit, alleging their conditions of confinement violate their constitutional rights. One passage of the lawsuit reads, “In C-Pod, time passes in long silences broken by the sudden outbursts of the mentally ill, who scream, bang on the walls and toilets, […]

Presidential Prison Politics

As prison issues and criminal justice reform become increasingly popular items on the nation’s political agenda, the 2016 presidential candidates are getting in line. Most have shifted their prison policies toward reform in recent years (or months), and almost all say they support basic reforms like reduced mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenders. Nonetheless, headlines […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/8/2015]

• In Jezebel, Solitary Watch Contributing Writer Aviva Stahl interviews Synthia China Blast, a transgender woman who was isolated in involuntary protective custody for almost 20 years. Blast talks about her children, the abuse she suffered and the defense mechanisms she adopted in jail and after she was released. • The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/1/2015]

• The Center for Constitutional Rights has appealed a district court ruling in a case that seeks to challenge the constitutionality of the Bureau of Prison’s restrictive Communication Management Units (CMUs). CCR lawyer Rachel Meerpol said, “Communications Management Units impose harsh restrictions on prisoners’ communication with their families and with fellow prisoners for years at a […]