A Month in Solitary [8/31/13]

Pictured: Solitary confinement cell

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past month that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • According to the tally kept by the Miami Herald, 35 of the 166 men held captive at Guantanamo are engaged in a hunger strike, with 32 being force-fed and one hospitalized. Most […]

UN: Solitary Confinement in the US Can Be Torture, Force-Feeding Unacceptable

United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Torture: Solitary Confinement in the United States Can Be Torture

The use of solitary confinement in California prisons, can amount to “cruel punishment, even torture.” This is according to a recent news release from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in which UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Méndez addresses the issue of solitary confinement in US prisons and specifically those in California. The statement […]

California Prison Hunger Strikers to Be Force-Fed

A force-feeding chair at Guantanamo.

Robert Lowell called it “man’s lovely, peculiar power to choose life and die”–the ability of human beings to give their lives willingly in service of a cause greater than their individual selves. But the state of California, with the approval of a federal judge, now has license to deny even this last, most desperate human right […]

Day 41 of California Hunger Strike: CDCR Still Insists It’s A Gang Power Play

It is day 41 of the California prison hunger strike, with 129 hunger strikers in six prisons across the state, with 69 of them having refused food since July 8th. As of this writing, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has refused to enter negotiations with the hunger strikers, and Governor Jerry Brown […]

Voices from Solitary: The Torture Chamber

Pleasant Valley State Prison

The following was written by Carlos Marsh, who spent 22 months in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) at Pleasant Valley State Prison between 2004 and 2006. His brother is currently incarcerated at Calipatria State Prison and has participated in the current hunger strike. Paralyzed from the chest down since he was 13 following a shooting, […]

Day 39 of California Prison Hunger Strike: Governor Jerry Brown Remains Silent

Gabriel Huerta, 28 years in the SHU at Pelican Bay

Today marks the 39th day of California’s prison hunger strike, which began on July 8th. According to the medical receiver’s office, a total of 93 in the past week have required medical assistance. At least one was sent at a community hospital following complications from re-eating four days ago. Last night, a hunger strike participant […]

Day 36 of California Hunger Strike: Hundreds Still Protesting Isolation Policies

Jabari Scott

Today is day 36 of a statewide hunger strike that began on July 8th with the participation of 30,000 individuals in prisons across California. As of yesterday, 270 people in six institutions were on hunger strike; 152 of them continuously since July 8 according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Chief among the […]

Calipatria Hunger Striker: “Putting Everything On The Line For Dignity”

Calipatria State Prison

The statewide California prison hunger strike has now lasted 33 days. As of yesterday, 193 hunger strikers have refused meals the entire 32 days since the strike began on July 8th. In total, there were 349 hunger strikers yesterday, up from 346 the day before. CDCR’s Terry Thornton confirmed that some hunger strike participants who […]

30 Days of Hunger Striking, California Prisons Chief Insists It’s “Gang Power Play”

Self-Portrait of Billy Sell, who committed suicide on July 22nd
Courtesy Prisoner Express - / Gary Fine, Assistant Director, Durland Alternatives Library, Cornell University

As of Monday, there were 415 California prisoners in seven facilities on hunger strike. Of them, 244 have been on hunger strike since July 8th, making this hunger strike the longest of the three statewide hunger strikes that California prisoners have launched demanding the “Five Core Demands.” California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) spokesperson […]

Hundreds Still on Hunger Strike in California Prisons As Situation Becomes Increasingly Dire


Nearly one year ago, J. Heshima Denham, who is being held in solitary confinement at Corcoran State Prison’s Security Housing Unit, told Solitary Watch: “The reality is there is a significant number of us for whom death holds no real fear, in fact, in some ways—as an alternative to another few decades of this—it holds some appeal. […]