With New Report, Prison Officials Commit to Reducing Their Use of Solitary Confinement

Prison officials across the country dedicated themselves to reducing the use of solitary confinement as they released a ground-breaking survey showing as many as 100,000 people were in solitary as of last fall. “Prolonged isolation of individuals in jails and prisons is a grave problem in the United States,” said a press release by the […]

Prison Watchdog Says Solitary Confinement in Canada Is “Out of Control”

A recent report showing an upsurge in the occurrence of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons, and its disproportionate use for Black and Aboriginal individuals and those with mental health issues, shocked even Canada’s outgoing prison ombudsman. “I have looked at segregation in significant detail over the last several years and I was still surprised to […]

After Hunger Strikes, Solitary Confinement 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 […]

Kalief Browder’s Life and Death Galvanize Action to End Solitary Confinement

Three weeks ago, a young African American man from the Bronx took his own life. The impact of Kalief Browder’s suicide has been felt at the city, state, and even federal levels, and may be felt far into the future. Browder’s story, in which he was held on Rikers Island for three years beginning at […]

Federal Judge Orders Angola 3’s Albert Woodfox Unconditionally Released After 43 Years in Solitary Confinement (Updated 6/12)

Update, June 12, 4:30 pm: The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to continue the stay and block release until the State of Louisiana’s appeal is heard, but they have also granted an “expedited” status for the appeal. Final legal briefs are due August 7, so nearly two more months will pass before Albert Woodfox […]

Pennsylvania Law Aimed at Silencing People Convicted of Crimes Is Declared Unconstitutional

On Tuesday, a federal judge struck down a Pennsylvania law that had the potential to severely curtail free speech for people convicted of crimes. The Revictimization Relief Act, enacted last fall, was initially aimed at silencing Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is serving a life sentence for the 1981 murder of a police officer, and whose case […]

After 42 Years in Solitary Confinement, Will the Angola 3’s Albert Woodfox Be a Free Man?

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the overturning of Albert Woodfox’s conviction. Yet he may remain in prison–and in solitary confinement–for months or even years before his four-decade ordeal is over. Woodfox has been held in solitary confinement for more than 42 years for the 1972 murder […]

Transgender Women in New York State Prisons Face Solitary Confinement and Sexual Assault

A SOLITARY WATCH INVESTIGATION It was Gay Pride weekend in New York City, but the event’s celebratory spirit was absent from Michelle Scott’s tidy second-floor apartment on a leafy street near Brooklyn College. Her child, Carey Smith, is a transgender woman currently locked up in solitary confinement in Upstate Correctional Facility, a men’s supermax prison […]

Seven Days in Solitary [7/27/14]

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. • Footage obtained by the Colorado Independent shows excessive force being used against a man who was placed in solitary after exhibiting suicidal behavior. The man was being monitored in […]

Teens in Isolation: State Advisers to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission Hold Briefing on Juvenile Solitary Confinement in New York

Johnny Perez was sixteen when he was arrested for weapons possession. New York State automatically charges people ages 16 and over as adults, so the teenager was charged as an adult. Unable to afford the $100,000 bail, he was sent to Rikers Island to await trial. There, he was placed in C-74, the unit for […]