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Voices from Solitary: TV Death Row

Talha Ahsan's family in their London home.

For World Poetry Day, we feature a poem by Talha Ahsan, who is being held in pretrial solitary confinement in Northern Correctional Facility, a supermax prison in Connecticut. A British poet and translator, Ahsan was arrested at his family home in London in 2006 at the request of the United States government under the highly […]

Torture on Death Row: Court Rules Against Automatic Use of Solitary Confinement for the Condemned

Cell on Texas death row.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty itself does not constitute “cruel and unusual punishment.” Yet the treatment of the condemned is nonetheless subject to Eighth Amendment protections, as well as Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of due process. In the past few years, this ironic legal reality has been the subject of a renewed […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/9/2014]

Solitary confinement news roundup

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • Gawker published a letter from Ray Jasper, who is scheduled to be put to death by the state of Texas on March 19.  With regards to solitary confinement he […]

Way Down in the Hole: Senate Hearing Challenges Solitary Confinement for Some, But Not All

Damon Thibodeaux, who spent 15 years in solitary confinement on Louisiana's death row, testifies at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on February 25.

It didn’t take much reading between the lines to decipher the central message of last week’s Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on solitary confinement. Lawmakers and witnesses alike appeared to agree: There are people in solitary confinement in American prisons who just don’t belong there. And then, there are other people who do. In taking this […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/9/14]

Solitary confinement news roundup

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • The ACLU released an online toolkit outlining how LGBTI advocates and directly affected individuals can leverage the Prison Rape Elimination ACT (PREA) to protect one of the most vulnerable populations […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/12/13]

Solitary confinement news roundup

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • The National Catholic Reporter publishes a piece on the Photo Requests from Solitary project, noting that “[i]n 2009, every man in Tamms received an intriguing letter: ‘Tamms Year […]

Santa Was in Prison and Jesus Got the Death Penalty

star-of-bethlehem1[1]_jpg2

This post has become a Christmas tradition at Solitary Watch. To all our readers, warm wishes for the holidays. Special thanks to those who have helped us bring a small ray of light into the darkness of solitary confinement by supporting our Lifelines to Solitary project. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/22/13]

Solitary confinement news roundup

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • Capital Public Radio reports on court hearings in Sacramento, CA, where U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton of Sacramento decided that people with mental illness on death row and in […]

Voices from Solitary: 144 Years for Prison Escapes

Polunsky Unit Cell | Solitary Confinement

The following comes from widely known, multiple prison escapee Steven Jay Russell, 56, who is currently serving a 144-year sentence in administrative segregation at the all-solitary Allan B. Polunsky Unit on Texas death row. Robert Perkinson, author of Texas Tough, describes Polunsky as “the most lethal [death row] anywhere in the democratic world” and “the hardest place to do time in Texas.” Russell, […]

Videos Show Abuse of Mentally Ill in California Prisons

Solitary confinement at Corcoran SHU

Videos of California prison guards pumping pepper spray into the cells of prisoners – some of whom were naked and screaming, all of whom suffer from mental illness – and then forcibly extracting them from their cells were shown at trial in a federal court room in Sacramento on Tuesday. The trial, part of a federal case […]