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 […]

Seven Days in Solitary [8/9/2015]

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. • Four United States senators introduced a bill that would prohibit the solitary confinement of children tried in the federal system and held in pretrial facilities and juvenile detention facilities. […]

Obama, in Criminal Justice Speech, Denounces the “Overuse of Solitary Confinement” in U.S. Prisons

President Barack Obama said in a speech today that he has asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch to “start a review of the overuse of solitary confinement across American prisons.” He went on to challenge the practice as counterproductive as well as inhumane. In a speech on criminal justice delivered at the annual convention of the […]

Federal Bureau of Prisons Details Plans for Limited “Audit” of Solitary Confinement Practices

Last week, representatives of six nonprofit organizations critical of solitary confinement met in a closed-door meeting in Washington, D.C., with the team hired to conduct an internal audit of the federal Bureau of Prisons’ controversial “segregation” policies. The idea for an audit came out of Senator Dick Durbin’s June 2012 Senate hearing on solitary confinement, […]

Under Fire, Federal Bureau of Prisons Audits Use of Solitary Confinement—and Buys a New Supermax Prison

Amidst growing criticism of its abundant use solitary confinement, the federal Bureau of Prisons has quietly set in motion an “internal audit” to review its “restricted housing operations.” The audit, which has been contracted out to a Washington think tank and will be conducted largely by former corrections officials, seems unlikely to bring any dramatic change […]

Pat Nolan’s Evangelical Prison Reform

When it comes to Washington politics, a handful of congressman lead the way in shaping prison reform. At the forefront of this movement are John Conyers, Michigan’s ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee; Bobby Scott, Virginia’s indefatigable opponent of solitary confinement; and Cedric Richmond, who, as a member of the Louisiana legislature, has spoken out […]

GAO Report Questions Widespread Use of Solitary Confinement in Federal Prisons

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons currently holds more than 12,400 individuals in 23-hour-a-day lockdown, making it the largest practitioner of solitary and other forms of isolated confinement in the nation, and most likely the world. Yet the BOP does not know whether its use of “segregated housing” has any impact on prison safety, how it affects the prisoners […]

Feds to Open New Supermax Prison Cells at “Gitmo North”

Even as it announces a review and reduction of its solitary confinement practices, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons confirmed to Solitary Watch that a newly acquired prison ln Illinois will hold federal prisoners in supermax conditions. “Thomson will be a high security prison holding inmates with various security needs, including SMU and ADX type inmates,” said BOP spokesperson Chris Burke […]

Federal Bureau of Prisons to Undergo Review of Solitary Confinement Practices

On Monday, the office of Illinois Senator Dick Durbin put out the following press release, announcing that the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) had agreed to submit to a review of its solitary confinement practices. In 2010, a spokesperson for the BOP said that federal prisons held approximately 11,150 prisoners in some form of segregated “special housing.” This figure includes the 400 […]