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 […]

In California Prisons, Hundreds 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 […]

A Month in Solitary [8/31/13]

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 […]