Seven Days in Solitary [10/13/13]

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. • Following the death of Herman Wallace, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Méndez called on the United States to immediately end the indefinite solitary confinement of Albert […]

New Project: Photo Requests from Solitary

Darrius: "My Auntie's House on the Block." Photo by Chris Murphy, 2012.

Solitary Watch has been on a brief hiatus this week as we worked on our latest collaboration, Photo Requests From Solitary. Please check out our new page on the project to view more photos. If you are in New York, come see the exhibit at Photoville in Brooklyn, and join us this afternoon for a panel […]

We Are One Body: Catholics Raise Voices Against Solitary Confinement


The title of this piece is the title of a cover story in the latest issue of America: The National Catholic Review, written by Solitary Watch Reporter/Researcher Katie Rose Quandt. An excerpt follows; you can read the full piece on the America website. Brian Nelson spent 12 years of his life staring at four concrete […]

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 […]

New on Solitary Watch: Multimedia Resources


Thanks to our amazing Social Media Manager, Lisa Dawson, Solitary Watch now features a large and growing archive of multimedia resources on solitary confinement, including audio, video, and infographics. Art and photography are coming soon! Send suggestions for additons to the multimedia pages to

The Art of Activism: Closing Tamms Supermax

tamms mud

A new article from Creative Time Reports highlights the role played by politically engaged art in the campaign to shut down Tamms supermax prison in southern Illinois. Tamms closed its doors for good in January, but only after a protracted battle in which family members of the incarcerated, grassroots activists, and artists–joined to form the group […]

To See or Not to See: Capturing Herman Wallace’s 41 Years in Solitary


Guest Post by Angad Bhalla Angad Bhalla is the director of Herman’s House, a documentary film that examines the injustice of solitary confinement by exploring the creative journey and friendship between artist Jackie Sumell and Herman Wallace. Forty-one years ago today, Wallace was placed in solitary confinement following the murder of a corrections officer at Louisiana’s […]

Twenty Years After the Lucasville Uprising, Trying to Tell the Story

Art by Jason Robb.

Guest Post by Staughton Lynd Staughton Lynd is a lawyer, historian, educator, author, and lifelong activist for peace and justice. For four decades, he and his wife, Alice Lynd, have worked on prisoners’ rights issues, especially in Ohio where they live. The Lynds were of counsel in a landmark 2001 class action suit, Austin v. Wilkinson, which challenged the constitutionality of […]

Guarding the Fortresses: How Prison Policies Limit Media Access to Solitary Confinement

adx watchtowers

Journalists face serious obstacles to reporting on prisons–and even more to uncovering the truth about solitary confinement. (See James Ridgeway’s essay “Fortresses of Solitude.”) Public oversight of governmental institutions, which can help to prevent corruption and abuse by those in power, is seen as a hallmark of an engaged, democratic citizenry. However, when it comes […]

Fortresses of Solitude: Journalists Barred from Prison Isolation Units


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 […]