Legal Settlement Is Having a “Transformative Effect” on Solitary Confinement in California Prisons

California’s historic settlement ending the use of indefinite solitary confinement in the state prison system is now official. On January 26, U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken approved the settlement agreement reached between California prison officials and lawyers for individuals who had spent more than ten years in solitary confinement in the prison system’s Security Housing […]

“Suicide Checks” Lead to Extreme Sleep Deprivation at California’s Pelican Bay Prison

Since August 2015, men in the Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit have been subjected to loud, disruptive “welfare checks,” causing sleep deprivation that amounts to torture, according to prisoners rights activists. The welfare checks, which occur throughout the state prison system, were only recently implemented in the Pelican Bay SHU, which still houses […]

Seven Days in Solitary [01/03/2016]

• Coverage continues of the recent solitary confinement settlement in New York state, with articles appearing in the New York Times and Al Jazeera America, among other outlets. • A Colorado State Senator wrote about the hunger strikes that occurred in Aurora and other immigration detention centers across the country. Two participants “reported to [him that] all […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/06/2015]

• A California state senator announced he would push for the passage of a bill to limit the placement of children in solitary confinement. Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco, plans to introduce the Stop Torture of Children Act when the legislature reconvenes in January. • Washington DC Councilmember Mary Cheh has introduced legislation to limit […]

Seven Days in Solitary [9/13/2015]

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. • Wisconsin’s Badger Herald published an article on the use of solitary confinement in the state. Although the state has reduced its use of isolation, critics and advocates maintain that […]

Seven Days in Solitary [9/06/2015]

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. • Coverage continued of the landmark settlement reached in California. The New York Times published an editorial supporting the development, and a Guardian story featured the stories and experiences of […]

California Prison Hunger Strikes Sparked Solitary Reforms, Internal Documents Show

How influential were the three hunger strikes held by California prisoners in spurring the sweeping changes to solitary confinement policies that were announced yesterday? The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has repeatedly stated that they were already planning to reform long-term solitary confinement before the hunger strikes of 2011 and 2013. But internal documents obtained […]

In Landmark Settlement, Solitary Confinement to Be Dramatically Reduced in California Prisons

California prison officials have agreed to limit the practice of long-term solitary confinement, four years after the first hunger strike began in protest of the practice. Under a historic agreement reached in the Ashker v. Brown suit between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of individuals in […]

Seven Days in Solitary [8/30/2015]

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. • A 68-year-old woman from North Carolina was arrested and put in solitary as punishment for having walked away from a halfway house almost 40 years ago because of […]

Seven Days in Solitary [8/16/2015]

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. • Journalist Raven Rakia explores the class-action lawsuit filed in June against the Illinois Department of Corrections, which alleges that the state’s use of solitary confinement violates the Constitution. Allan Mills of […]

After Hunger Strikes, Solitary Reforms Come to California’s Prisons—and Leave Thousands Behind

Four years ago today, approximately 6,600 people in California prisons launched a hunger strike in protest of long-term solitary confinement. The protest would be the first of three large-scale actions by state prisoners to bring awareness to the issue of long-term solitary confinement. At the epicenter was Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, home of […]