Lawsuits Challenge the Cruelty of Decades in Solitary Confinement on Death Row

In a dissenting opinion written earlier this year, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that “If extended solitary confinement alone raises serious constitutional questions, then 20 years of solitary confinement, all the while under threat of execution, must raise similar questions, and to a rare degree, and with particular intensity.” Yet in a majority of […]

At Louisiana's Angola Prison, Lawsuit Claims, the Sick Face Neglect, Isolation, and Death

Men incarcerated at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, commonly known as Angola, are suing prison officials and the Louisiana Department of Corrections for failing to provide adequate healthcare to the more than 6,000 people currently held there. In a scathing, 63-page complaint, lawyers representing Angola’s prison population allege that men are routinely denied appropriate medical care, resulting in “unnecessary pain and […]

A Fortnight in Solitary [5/17/2015]

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past two weeks that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • Curry County, New Mexico has again been sued on allegations of abuse at its jail facilities. Alejandro “Alex” Romero, 36, did not receive any medication for his diagnosed […]

Members of Congress Call for Investigation of Louisiana's Use of Solitary Confinement, Treatment of Angola 3

Update, July 15:  Over the weekend, Louisiana’s Hunt prison reduced Herman Wallace’s classification from maximum to medium, according to a source in his defense team. That means the terminally ill Wallace will stay in the prison hospital in a 10-bunk dorm, with access to a day room, and won’t have to wear leg irons. His phone privileges are […]

Angola Prison May Close Lockdown Unit--But Vows to Keep Inmates in Isolation

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that the Louisiana Department of Corrections “is contemplating the sale of prisons and the closure of an inmate isolation unit in order to cut costs during difficult budget times.” Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc told the Advocate, “Everything has to be put on the table” to deal with massive state budget deficits. […]

The Mark of Cain: God and Man at Angola Prison

The Associated Press today put out a laudatory piece on Warden Burl Cain’s program of Christian education at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. The article, which was picked up by the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and dozens of other publications, is sure to advance Cain’s reputation as a great prison reformer. The AP piece depicts Angola as […]

A Louisiana Inmate's Death Wish

Barring a last-minute stay (which is highly unlikely), Gerald Bordelon will, on Thursday night, become the first person executed in the state of Louisiana in almost eight years. Bordelon’s case is also remarkable because he has chosen not to appeal his death sentence. His right to make that choice that was upheld by the Louisiana Supreme […]