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 […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/18/2017]

• A demonstration against solitary confinement was held outside the home of Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington. According to one local outlet, “the demonstration follows the suicide (still under investigation) of a young man on May 2nd at Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee, where most of the 70 have been incarcerated.” • Joaquin […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/12/2017]

•  New Mexico counties have been forced to pay more than $20 million in civil rights about solitary confinement thus far, and may pay out even more in the near future – five solitary confinement-related suits have been filed against the New Mexico counties in the last 18 months. George Abila recently won a $1.9 […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/2/2016]

• Governor Jerry Brown of California signed into law a bill limiting the use of isolation in juvenile detention centers. “Young people across the state who are and were incarcerated have been calling for an end to long-term isolation for years,” said Kim McGill, an organizer with Youth Justice Coalition. “It is partly thanks to […]

Seven Days in Solitary [8/21/2016]

• Philly.com addressed the use of solitary for kids held in the city’s jails; in 2015, juveniles at Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center were placed in punitive segregation 41 times, for an average of 32 days. “It was the worst time of my life,” said Donyea Phillips, who tried to commit suicide during an 11-month stint […]

Seven Days in Solitary [8/14/2016]

• California is considering new legislation that would sharply limit the use of solitary confinement for children. Under the law, which has passed the state Senate and is awaiting a vote in the Assembly, a child could only be placed in isolation if they posed a risk to themselves, others or the facility, and would […]

Seven Days in Solitary [5/29/16]

• Truth-Out published an op-ed entitled, “Solitary Confinement Is Used to Break People — I Know Because I Endured It.” Survivor Monica Cosby writes, “I’ve been out of solitary for over 11 years, but I still smell my cell. I still hear the correctional officers clanging the bars and jingling their keys and handcuffs. Because […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/24/2016]

• A coalition working to end solitary for children held a series of kick-off events in Washington DC. Supporters include Venida Brower, whose son Kalief committed suicide after spending time in isolation on Rikers Island as a teenager. • New York’s Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that the number of people held in solitary has […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/14/2016]

• Excerpts from “Hell is a Very Small Place” were featured on In These Times and Longreads. The book was also reviewed by incarcerated whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The book, which is edited by Solitary Watch’s Jean Casella, Jim Ridgeway and Sarah Shourd, is the first to feature firsthand accounts of life in solitary. • Taylor Pendergrass of the […]

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 […]