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 […]

Landmark Settlement Reached: 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 […]

Will Revamped Prison Regulations Reduce Solitary Confinement in California?

California prison officials have announced a number of changes to state regulations pertaining to the use of solitary confinement and other forms of extreme isolation. The reforms come in the run-up to the fourth year anniversary of the first of three large-scale hunger strikes launched by individuals in the state’s Security Housing Units (SHU) in protest […]

In California Prisons, Hundreds Have Been Removed from Solitary Confinement———and Thousands Remain

It has been over three years since the first statewide hunger strike in protest of the California prison systems’ use of solitary confinement. The hunger strike, the first of many to follow, was launched by individuals housed in the state’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). The hunger strikes prompted state Legislative hearings, international scrutiny, and some […]

New Solitary Confinement Policies in California Bring Small Changes and Raise Big Questions

The latest and largest of three hunger strikes in California prisons began nearly a year ago, on July 8, 2013.  The strike brought international attention to California’s liberal use of indefinite solitary confinement and resulted in legislative hearings and the introduction of bills to curb solitary in both houses of the California state legislature. (Only one […]

At Hearing on Solitary Confinement in California Prisons, Advocates Challenge “Reforms”

“We’re here to question the existence and effects of the SHU,” stated California Assembly Member Tom Ammiano on Tuesday, “and we don’t think this new proposed policy goes nearly far enough.” Ammiano, who chairs the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee, was speaking at the second joint California Assembly-Senate hearing on the use of solitary confinement, including SHUs (Security Housing […]

Women in Solitary Confinement: “The Isolation Degenerates Us Into Madness”

A mass prisoner hunger strike rocked California’s prison system this past summer, drawing international attention to the extensive use of solitary confinement in the United States. Increasingly, solitary is finding its way into the mainstream media and onto activist agendas. Nearly all of the attention, however, has focused on solitary confinement in men’s prisons; much less is known about the […]

How Many People Are In Solitary Confinement in California’s Prisons?

With the considerable attention focused on solitary confinement in California, Solitary Watch has observed inconsistent and widely varied statistics provided on the number of individuals housed in solitary in the state. We have reviewed and compiled statistics reported monthly by each prison through the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) COMPSTAT reports (Computer Statistics […]

Videos Show Abuse of Mentally Ill in California Prisons

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 […]

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 […]