Severely Disabled Man Sues New York State Prisons for Neglect, Abuse

Five Points Correctional Facility in Upstate New York.

At a time when New York State is winning praise for removing vulnerable people from solitary confinement in its prisons, the case of Mark Gizewski offers a sobering counterpoint. Although he suffers from extreme physical disabilities and lives with constant pain, Gizewski has been in and out of solitary confinement for various prison rule violations. […]

Prison Health Care: Is the American Health Profession Ignoring a Human Rights Issue Hiding in Plain Sight?

red cross prison

 The following essay appeared as a guest post on the “Speaking of Medicine” blog published by PLOS (Public Library of Science.) There are 2.3 million people in US prisons in conditions that are often inhumane and at worst life threatening. An estimated 80,000 of US prisoners are locked up in solitary confinement, which means in […]

Pat Nolan’s Evangelical Prison Reform

Pat Nolan

When it comes to Washington politics, a handful of congressman lead the way in shaping prison reform. At the forefront of this movement are John Conyers, Michigan’s ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee; Bobby Scott, Virginia’s indefatigable opponent of solitary confinement; and Cedric Richmond, who, as a member of the Louisiana legislature, has spoken out […]

Fortresses of Solitude: Journalists Barred from Prison Isolation Units

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The following essay by Solitary Watch’s James Ridgeway appears in the current issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, which also includes an excellent story on the difficulties involved in reporting on prisons in general. For more on prison media policies, see our accompanying article by Rachel M. Cohen. Supermax prisons and solitary confinement units are our domestic […]

40 Years in Solitary: New BBC Program on the Angola 3 Case

This month marks 40 years in solitary confinement for Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, the two members of the Angola 3 who remain in prison–and in 23-hour lockdown–in Louisiana. They were placed in solitary confinement following the 1972 murder of a prison guard, for which they were convicted on highly dubious evidence. They believe that they […]

The Silent, Terrifying World of a Deaf Prisoner

My article “The Silent Treatment” appeared on the Mother Jones website a few days ago. It tells the story of Felix Garcia, a deaf man framed by his own siblings for a murder he did not commit, and given an effective life sentence. His experiences during 30 years in the Florida prison system have been […]

“God’s Own Warden”: Inside Angola Prison

angola cross

Editor’s Note: The latest issue of Mother Jones magazine includes James Ridgeway’s long article on Burl Cain, warden of the nation’s largest prison, and possibly its most notorious. The former slave plantation is known for the fact that 90 percent of its more than 5,000 prisoners will die behind bars, and also for holding two […]

The Scott Sisters’ “Debt to Society” and the New Jim Crow

Jamie and Gladys Scott walked out of prison today into the free world. The sisters were convicted, on dubious grounds, of an $11 armed robbery, and sentenced to life in prison. Both sisters lost 17 years of their lives behind bars before Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour suspended the remainder of their draconian sentences; Jamie also forfeited her health, and […]

After 16 Years Behind Bars for an $11 Robbery, the Scott Sisters Will Be Free at Last

The following announcement was issued today by Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi, regarding Jamie and Gladys Scott. We were among the first non-local media sources to write about the Scott sisters case, back in March. The full story of their arrest and incarceration, and Jamie Scott’s struggle to stay alive in prison, can be found here and here, […]

Massachusetts Prisoner Who Exposed Sex-for-Snitching Ring Sent to Solitary

The inmate at Massachusetts’ Norfolk Prison who blew the whistle on a sex-for-information ring operated by guards (as reported here last week) has been placed in the hole. Timothy Muise, an activist with the Lifers Group inside the prison, said in a letter that he had been visited by Assistant Deputy Commissioner Paul DiPaolo, the state official in […]