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Seven Days in Solitary [4/13/2014]

Solitary confinement news roundup

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 California judge has ruled that the state’s prisons violated the Constitution by using excess force against people with mental illness. State officials will now be required to make […]

Videos Show Abuse of Mentally Ill in California Prisons

Solitary confinement at Corcoran SHU

Videos of California prison guards pumping pepper spray into the cells of prisoners – some of whom were naked and screaming, all of whom suffer from mental illness – and then forcibly extracting them from their cells were shown at trial in a federal court room in Sacramento on Tuesday. The trial, part of a federal case […]

Seven Days in Solitary [9/29/13]

Pictured: Solitary confinement cell

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. • Reporting on the 1972 trial of Herman Wallace, the outcome of which landed him in solitary confinement for over four decades, The Atlantic writes on the meaning of Wallace’s life […]

Day 59 of California Prison Hunger Strike: “Their Spirits Are High, Their Bodies Are Weak”

Starvation affects every part of your body and will make you weak and vulnerable to infections. The function of all your cells and organs will decline. Your skin may become fragile and you are likely to develop uncomfortable sores, particularly in the mouth and bony pressure points. You may feel very cold and experience constipation […]

California Prison Hunger Strikers to Be Force-Fed

A force-feeding chair at Guantanamo.

Robert Lowell called it “man’s lovely, peculiar power to choose life and die”–the ability of human beings to give their lives willingly in service of a cause greater than their individual selves. But the state of California, with the approval of a federal judge, now has license to deny even this last, most desperate human right […]

30 Days of Hunger Striking, California Prisons Chief Insists It’s “Gang Power Play”

Self-Portrait of Billy Sell, who committed suicide on July 22nd
Courtesy Prisoner Express - www.prisonerexpress.org / Gary Fine, Assistant Director, Durland Alternatives Library, Cornell University

As of Monday, there were 415 California prisoners in seven facilities on hunger strike. Of them, 244 have been on hunger strike since July 8th, making this hunger strike the longest of the three statewide hunger strikes that California prisoners have launched demanding the “Five Core Demands.” California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) spokesperson […]

Hundreds Still on Hunger Strike in California Prisons As Situation Becomes Increasingly Dire

J.-Heshima-Denham-after-hunger-strike-0711-headshot-web

Nearly one year ago, J. Heshima Denham, who is being held in solitary confinement at Corcoran State Prison’s Security Housing Unit, told Solitary Watch: “The reality is there is a significant number of us for whom death holds no real fear, in fact, in some ways—as an alternative to another few decades of this—it holds some appeal. […]

California Prison Officials Retaliating Against Hunger Strikers

Pelican-Bay-SHU-prisoners-drawing-of-cell-from-Cal-Prison-Focus

California prison hunger strikers are entering their twelfth day of refusing state-issued meals in protest of long-term solitary confinement, the controversial gang validation process that has put 3,000 in indefinite isolation, and related issues. According to the latest figures from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), 1,457 individuals in 15 prisons across the […]

Thousands of California Prisoners, One Hunger Strike, One Week

California prisoners have been on hunger strike for one full week, today, in protest of long-term solitary confinement. The hunger strike began on July 8th with participation of approximately 30,000 people in two-thirds of California’s prisons, as well as several out-of-state facilities holding California prisoners. In the first days of the hunger strike, approximately 3,200 others […]

Voices from Solitary: This Place Is Nothing More Than a Torture Chamber

Pelican Bay State Prison

The following was written by Tony, 35, who is engaged in the statewide hunger strike against long-term solitary confinement and related issues at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, California. Incarcerated sine he was nineteen years old, he has been in the Security Housing Units (SHU) for over nine years, longer than the average […]