In Open Letter to President Obama, Groups Push for Solitary Confinement Reforms

More than 100 organizations from across the United States sent an open letter to President Obama Friday calling for the elimination of long-term and indefinite solitary confinement. The signatories – including civil and human rights groups, religious organizations, and groups of defense attorneys and mental health professionals – ask the President to take quick and […]

Lawsuit Charges Delaware Prison System With Neglect and Solitary Confinement of Mentally Ill

Last month, the Community Legal Aid Society Inc. (CLASI), along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), filed a lawsuit against the head of the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) over the department’s treatment of incarcerated people suffering from mental illness. CLASI argues that the DOC’s current practices violate the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. […]

UN’s “Mandela Rules” to Set New International Standards for Treatment of Prisoners, Including Limits on Solitary Confinement

The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMRs) are being given several long-awaited revisions this year. Among them is a provision that solitary confinement “shall be used only in exceptional cases as a last resort for as short a time as possible and subject to independent review.” The rules also prohibit […]

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 […]

At Ohio’s Supermax Prison, a Hunger Strike Ends But Extreme Isolation Remains

Last week, men incarcerated at Ohio’s supermax prison, the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, brought a month-long hunger strike to a close. Between 30 and 40 men had refused all meals since March 16 to protest new restrictions placed on already severely limited recreation and programming for those in solitary confinement. On Wednesday, April 15, […]

New Report Documents the “Waste, Cost and Harm” of Solitary Confinement in Texas

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project  (TCRP) have released a report arguing that “solitary confinement is dangerous, expensive and makes Texas less safe.” In A Solitary Failure: The Waste, Cost and Harm of Solitary Confinement, through surveys, in-person interviews, and corroborative research conducted over an eight-month period, the […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/8/14]

• On Monday, June 2, the New York City medical examiners office ruled the death of a man who died in a Rikers Island jail cell last fall to be a homicide. Bradley Ballard died of complications of diabetes along with the results of genital self-mutilation. According to the Associated Press: “Ballard, who family members […]

Immigrant Hunger Strikers Placed in Solitary Confinement at Federal Detention Center

Nearly a month ago, at least 750 immigrant detainees at the federal government’s Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, went on hunger strike. The strike included about half the detainees at the 1,500-bed facility, which is run by the GEO Group, the nation’s second largest private prison contractor. Individuals are held at the detention center […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/3/13]

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. • A comprehensive new report, Inside the Box: The Real Costs of Solitary Confinement in New Mexico’s Prisons and Jails, was published this week by the New Mexico Center […]

Seven Days in Solitary [7/28/13]

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 the tally kept by The Miami Herald, 68 of the 166 men held captive at Guantanamo are hunger-striking, with 44 being force-fed and three hospitalized. The Guardian reports on the Senate’s […]