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

Demonstrators gather at the State Capitol in Sacramento on Tuesday. Photo by Pete Brook.

“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”

ccwf

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?

ASU Population as reported through COMPSTAT in October 2012 and September 2013.

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

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 […]

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 […]

A Month in Solitary [8/31/13]

Pictured: Solitary confinement cell

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past month that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • According to the tally kept by the Miami Herald, 35 of the 166 men held captive at Guantanamo are engaged in a hunger strike, with 32 being force-fed and one hospitalized. Most […]

Day 41 of California Hunger Strike: CDCR Still Insists It’s A Gang Power Play

It is day 41 of the California prison hunger strike, with 129 hunger strikers in six prisons across the state, with 69 of them having refused food since July 8th. As of this writing, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has refused to enter negotiations with the hunger strikers, and Governor Jerry Brown […]

Day 39 of California Prison Hunger Strike: Governor Jerry Brown Remains Silent

Gabriel Huerta, 28 years in the SHU at Pelican Bay

Today marks the 39th day of California’s prison hunger strike, which began on July 8th. According to the medical receiver’s office, a total of 93 in the past week have required medical assistance. At least one was sent at a community hospital following complications from re-eating four days ago. Last night, a hunger strike participant […]

Day 36 of California Hunger Strike: Hundreds Still Protesting Isolation Policies

Jabari Scott

Today is day 36 of a statewide hunger strike that began on July 8th with the participation of 30,000 individuals in prisons across California. As of yesterday, 270 people in six institutions were on hunger strike; 152 of them continuously since July 8 according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Chief among the […]

Calipatria Hunger Striker: “Putting Everything On The Line For Dignity”

Calipatria State Prison

The statewide California prison hunger strike has now lasted 33 days. As of yesterday, 193 hunger strikers have refused meals the entire 32 days since the strike began on July 8th. In total, there were 349 hunger strikers yesterday, up from 346 the day before. CDCR’s Terry Thornton confirmed that some hunger strike participants who […]