Voices from Solitary: Survivors Speak

 The American Friends Service Committee has a long history of advocating for the rights of the incarcerated, and against injustice and abuse in U.S. prisons, jails, and detention centers. Recently, AFSC released a report called Survivors Speak: Prisoner Testimonies of Torture in United States Prisons and Jails. The document was prepared as a Shadow Report to the official U.S. […]

Prayers for People in Solitary Confinement

Editor’s Note: The following prayers, along with more than a hundred others, were delivered to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Thursday. The same small selection of prayers was printed in Solitary Watch’s latest quarterly print edition, which goes out to some 800 individuals currently in solitary confinement. The complete collection of prayers […]

The Use of Isolation in U.S. Prisons: A Human Rights Issue

Guest Post by Bonnie Kerness Editor’s Note: As coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Project, Bonnie Kerness is a leading voice for humanitarian reform of U.S. prisons, jails and detention centers. Kerness is also a pioneer in raising awareness about the use of prolonged solitary confinement and in uncompromisingly identifying the practice as a […]

The Hidden History of Solitary Confinement in New Jersey's Control Units

Guest Post by Bonnie Kerness Editor’s Note: As coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Project, Bonnie Kerness is a leading voice for humanitarian reform of U.S. prisons, jails, and detention centers. Kerness is also a pioneer in raising awareness about the use of prolonged solitary confinement, and in uncompromisingly identifying the practice […]

Bonnie Kerness: Pioneer in the Struggle Against Solitary Confinement

Guest Post by Lance Tapley In 1986 Ojore Lutalo, a black revolutionary in the Trenton State Prison — now the New Jersey State Prison — wrote to Bonnie Kerness’s American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) office in Newark. His letter described the extreme isolation and other brutalities in the prison’s Management Control Unit, which he called a “prison […]

"A Form of Torture": Testimony of Laura Magnani on Solitary Confinement

Laura Magnani, Interim Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee in San Francisco, testified before the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee on the issue of solitary confinement. Magnani speaks about the findings of the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons, the circumstances of women in solitary confinement, and argues that prolonged solitary […]

Voices from the "Torture Chambers": Solitary Confinement and Political Repression

Guest Post by Bonnie Kerness Editor’s Note: Bonnie Kerness of the American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Project was one of the first Americans to name the widespread use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons as a form of torture. Her longtime battle against this practice is just one chapter in a lifetime spent in various forms of social justice […]

Devices of Torture in U.S. Prisons

Guest Post by Bonnie Kerness Editors’ note: As coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Project, Bonnie Kerness is a leading voice for humanitarian reform of U.S. prisons, jails, and detention centers. Kerness is also a pioneer in raising awareness about the use of prolonged solitary confinement, and in uncompromisingly identifying the practice as a form […]