Guarding Solitary Confinement

Recently, Solitary Watch had the opportunity to sit down with “X,” a former corrections officer who spent almost two years working on a segregation unit in Pennsylvania. (The guard requested complete anonymity in exchange for the interview). X, now 48, worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections between 2006 and 2009, and in the Special […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/26/2016]

• Judge Esla Alcala, a member of Texas’ Court of Criminal Appeals, filed an opinion expressing “great concern” about the use of the death penalty in the state, including automatic placement in solitary on death row. “I have gone to death row and I have seen those cells, and I can’t fathom living in a […]

"Dying to Live": Hunger Strike in Wisconsin Prison Protests Indefinite Solitary Confinement

Update, 5 pm: Based on court records, Wisconsin Watch is reporting that three men are now being force-fed as the hunger strike enters its third week. They include LaRon McKinley Bey and Cesar De Leon at Waupun Correctional Institution and Prince Aturn-Ra Uhuru Mutawakki/Norman C. Green at Columbia Correctional Institution, who has been in isolation for eighteen […]

Voices from Solitary: Solitary Is a Living Death

The Correctional Association of New York recently released Voices from Clinton, a report detailing the abuse and isolation many of the incarcerated people at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, face. (See accompanying post.)  The report follows how punishments and brutality at an already notoriously violent prison have become worse since an escape made by […]

Widespread Brutality and Solitary Confinement Followed New York Prison Escape, Report Finds

One year after the high-profile escape of two men from Clinton Correctional Facility, the Correctional Association of New York, the state’s oldest prison reform organization, has released a scathing new report on the brutality that followed the escape. Voices from Clinton, documents cruelty often rising to the level of torture, and its subsequent cover up, in […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/19/2016]

• The Pioneer Institute released a report calling on Massachusetts to reform the use of solitary confinement in the state’s prisons and jails, as well as shift oversight at Bridgewater State Hospital, the only hospital in the country currently run by a corrections department. “Promoting serious reform to solitary confinement will send a message that […]

Solitary Confinement on Television: 'Orange Is the New Black' and Pop Culture's Lockup Landscape

Tomorrow, Netflix will release fourteen new episodes of the hit series Orange Is the New Black, inevitably renewing discussions of a host of prison issues. From the start of the series, the incarcerated women of Litchfield Penitentiary warn protagonist Piper Chapman about the horrors of “the SHU,” the federal prison’s Segregated Housing Unit. Chapman’s character, […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/12/2016]

• On the Marshall Project, Andrew Cohen explores the ongoing lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and its reform-minded secretary, John Wetzel. Lawyers for Arthur Johnson, an incarcerated man with intellectual disabilities who has spent the last 36 years in solitary confinement in the state’s prisons, allege that Johnson’s conditions of confinement violate the […]

Settlement in 11-Year Lawsuit Promises Relief from Abuse for Mentally Ill in South Carolina's Prisons

On May 31, 2016, a settlement was released in the longstanding class-action lawsuit between South Carolina-based Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities Inc (P&A) and the South Carolina Department of Corrections. If approved by a judge, the settlement would benefit the approximately 3,500 individuals with mental illness incarcerated in South Carolina. P&A and SCDC […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/5/2016]

• Rhode Island’s House Judiciary Committee was scheduled to consider legislation that would create a commission to study the use of solitary confinement in the state’s prisons. Representative Aaron Regunberg, who is sponsoring the legislation, had previously proposed a bill that would limit the use of isolation to 15 days. • A British man has […]

Locked Down Alone: New Report Documents Solitary Confinement in Ohio's Prisons

This month the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and Disability Rights Ohio released a collaborative review of solitary confinement and mental illness in Ohio prisons. After extensive research, tours of Ohio prisons, and interviews and surveys of incarcerated individuals, their families and prison staff, they released the report Shining a Light on Solitary Confinement: […]