Legal Settlement Is Having a “Transformative Effect” on Solitary Confinement in California Prisons

California’s historic settlement ending the use of indefinite solitary confinement in the state prison system is now official. On January 26, U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken approved the settlement agreement reached between California prison officials and lawyers for individuals who had spent more than ten years in solitary confinement in the prison system’s Security Housing […]

“Suicide Checks” Lead to Extreme Sleep Deprivation at California’s Pelican Bay Prison

Since August 2015, men in the Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit have been subjected to loud, disruptive “welfare checks,” causing sleep deprivation that amounts to torture, according to prisoners rights activists. The welfare checks, which occur throughout the state prison system, were only recently implemented in the Pelican Bay SHU, which still houses […]

Agreement Will Reduce Solitary Confinement of Mentally Ill in Oregon Prisons

Oregon corrections officials have agreed to reduce the isolation of people with serious mental illness in the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) at Oregon State Penitentiary, settling over a year of discussions with Disability Rights Oregon (DRO), the state’s federally designated Protection and Advocacy System. The agreement, signed January 8, has the potential to significantly improve the […]

Children Held in Solitary Confinement in Nebraska for “Days, Weeks, Even Months”

Passing notes, talking in the hallway and having too many books in your room are among the reasons children in Nebraska detention facilities have been locked in solitary confinement, according to a report released last week. The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska found widely varying policies governing the isolation of juveniles in the nine detention […]

California Prison Hunger Strikes Sparked Solitary Reforms, Internal Documents Show

How influential were the three hunger strikes held by California prisoners in spurring the sweeping changes to solitary confinement policies that were announced yesterday? The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has repeatedly stated that they were already planning to reform long-term solitary confinement before the hunger strikes of 2011 and 2013. But internal documents obtained […]

In Landmark Settlement, Solitary Confinement to Be Dramatically Reduced in California Prisons

California prison officials have agreed to limit the practice of long-term solitary confinement, four years after the first hunger strike began in protest of the practice. Under a historic agreement reached in the Ashker v. Brown suit between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of individuals in […]

After Hunger Strikes, Solitary Reforms Come to California’s Prisons—and Leave Thousands Behind

Four years ago today, approximately 6,600 people in California prisons launched a hunger strike in protest of long-term solitary confinement. The protest would be the first of three large-scale actions by state prisoners to bring awareness to the issue of long-term solitary confinement. At the epicenter was Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, home of […]

In California Prisons, Hundreds Removed from Solitary Confinement—and Thousands Remain

It has been over three years since the first statewide hunger strike in protest of the California prison systems’ use of solitary confinement. The hunger strike, the first of many to follow, was launched by individuals housed in the state’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). The hunger strikes prompted state Legislative hearings, international scrutiny, and some […]

New Solitary Confinement Policies in California Bring Small Changes and Raise Big Questions

The latest and largest of three hunger strikes in California prisons began nearly a year ago, on July 8, 2013.  The strike brought international attention to California’s liberal use of indefinite solitary confinement and resulted in legislative hearings and the introduction of bills to curb solitary in both houses of the California state legislature. (Only one […]

How Many People Are In Solitary Confinement in California’s Prisons?

With the considerable attention focused on solitary confinement in California, Solitary Watch has observed inconsistent and widely varied statistics provided on the number of individuals housed in solitary in the state. We have reviewed and compiled statistics reported monthly by each prison through the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) COMPSTAT reports (Computer Statistics […]