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Solitary Confinement: Too Controversial for Costco

costco

Editors’ Note: Back in October, Solitary Watch received a request from cut-rate retail giant Costco, for a 450-word essay arguing that solitary should be eliminated. The piece was to be printed in the ”Informed Debate” feature in the company’s giveaway magazine, Costco Connection, which has a readership numbering 20 million people. Pleased that such a large […]

Federal Bureau of Prisons Details Plans for Limited “Audit” of Solitary Confinement Practices

A cell at ADX Florence federal supermax, where individuals may spend years or decades in extreme solitary confinement.

Last week, representatives of six nonprofit organizations critical of solitary confinement met in a closed-door meeting in Washington, D.C., with the team hired to conduct an internal audit of the federal Bureau of Prisons’ controversial “segregation” policies. The idea for an audit came out of Senator Dick Durbin’s June 2012 Senate hearing on solitary confinement, […]

Under Fire, the Federal Bureau of Prisons Audits Its Use of Solitary Confinement——and Buys a New Supermax Prison

Solitary confinement cells at ADX Florence, the federal supermax in Colorado.

Amidst growing criticism of its abundant use solitary confinement, the federal Bureau of Prisons has quietly set in motion an “internal audit” to review its “restricted housing operations.” The audit, which has been contracted out to a Washington think tank and will be conducted largely by former corrections officials, seems unlikely to bring any dramatic change […]

Oversight in British Prisons: A Model for the U.S.?

british

Note: The following article orginally appeared in The Crime Report, and is reposted on Solitary Watch by permission. With great power, the saying goes, comes great responsibility, and prison systems are places where governments wield unparalleled power over individuals, not only depriving them of their freedom, but controlling nearly every detail of their daily lives. Yet […]

Members of Congress Call for Federal Investigation of Louisiana’s Use of Solitary Confinement, Treatment of the Angola 3

Herman Wallace's drawing of his sparse cell, complete with measurements; the total dimensions are 5 feet 10½ inches by 10 feet 1½ inches.

Update, July 15:  Over the weekend, Louisiana’s Hunt prison reduced Herman Wallace’s classification from maximum to medium, according to a source in his defense team. That means the terminally ill Wallace will stay in the prison hospital in a 10-bunk dorm, with access to a day room, and won’t have to wear leg irons. His phone privileges are […]

Angola 3′s Herman Wallace, Gravely Ill, Still Held in Isolation

herman

Update, July 15:  Over the weekend, Louisiana’s Hunt prison reduced Herman Wallace’s classification from maximum to medium, according to a source in his defense team. That means the terminally ill Wallace will stay in the prison hospital in a 10-bunk dorm, with access to a day room, and won’t have to wear leg irons. His […]

Deaf Prisoners in Florida Face Abuse and Solitary Confinement

sign_language_interpreter

In the a Florida prison called the Reception and Medical Center, a corrections officer appears at a cell door and begins mocking fake sign language to the man inside, who is deaf. Then he pulls Sam Hart out of the cell and escorts him for a haircut. After half his hair is shaved off one side of his head, the […]

Louisiana Attorney General Says Angola 3 “Have Never Been Held in Solitary Confinement”

Woodfox and Wallace in recent photos.

James “Buddy” Caldwell, attorney general of the state of Louisiana, has released a statement saying unequivocally that Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, the two still-imprisoned members of the Angola 3, “have never been held in solitary confinement while in the Louisiana penal system.” In fact, Wallace, now 71, and Woodfox, 66, have been in solitary for nearly […]

Solidarity and Solitary: When Unions Clash With Prison Reform

tamms protest

On January 4, 2013, Tamms Supermax in southern Illinois officially closed its doors. The prison, where some men had been in solitary confinement for more than a decade, had become notorious for its brutal treatment of prisoners with mental illness–and for driving sane prisoners to madness and suicide. The closure of Tamms, under order of […]

New York Prisoner Gets Five Years in Solitary for Cell Phone Smuggled in by Guard

nys doccs

Philip Miller was midway through a twenty-year sentence for robbery at Sing Sing Prison in New York, with an almost spotless prison record, when he was caught with a mobile phone in his cell in April 2010. He was charged with two disciplinary violations: ”possession of contraband” and also “altering state property,” since he had hidden the cell phone […]