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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 […]

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 […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/15/13]

Solitary confinement cell

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. • Alan Prendergast reports in Westword that the Colorado Department of Corrections has directed its wardens to stop sending people with mental illness to solitary confinement. (Look for more […]

Mandela in Solitary

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“I found solitary confinement the most forbidding aspect of prison life. There is no end and no beginning; there is only one’s mind, which can begin to play tricks. Was that a dream or did it really happen? One begins to question everything.” –Nelson Mandela, from his 1994 autobiography The Long Walk to Freedom Nelson […]

“This Draconian System of Punishment and Abuse”: An Interview with Former Political Prisoner Ray Luc Levasseur

Photo copyright Matthew Robbins, from the Portland Phoenix.

The following is a partial transcript of an interview with Ray Luc Levasseur, a former political prisoner who spent over fifteen years in solitary confinement, primarily at USP Marion and ADX Florence. Levasseur was raised in Maine, born to a working-class family of Quebecois origin. He became politically radicalized about race and class at a […]

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 […]

Voices from Solitary: “Extradition”

talha family

Today we arrive in London, where on Thursday we will speak at a forum entitled “Extradited to a Future of Torture: The Reality of Solitary Confinement in America.” Hosted by the International State Crimes Initiative (ISCI) at Kings College London, the event features the premiere of a film made by the Yale Visual Law Project, The […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4.20.13]

solitary_confinement_cell_auschwitz_1

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. •  According to a piece by Susan Greene in the Colorado Independent, the “Colorado ACLU reports young people are being forced to spend lengthy stints in cement isolation rooms referred […]

At U.N. Prisoners’ Rights Meeting, U.S. Resists Limits on Solitary Confinement

un flag

David Fathi, who directs the ACLU’s National Prison Project and its Stop Solitary initiative, has been reporting from the U.N. Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting on revising the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR), held last week in Buenos Aires. Fathi reported that the United States delegation proposed some “concrete and positive changes to the SMR”–but […]

Extradited to a Future of Torture in a U.S. Supermax Prison

ADX-Florence-SuperMax-Facility-Colorado

Guest Post by Laura Rovner Last week, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights rejected appeals from five terror suspects challenging their extraditions from Britain to the United States. The unanimous decision from the judges affirmed the Court’s earlier ruling that “detention conditions and length of sentences of five alleged terrorists would […]