Seven Days in Solitary [1/18/2015]

Solitary confinement news roundup: 7 Days in Solitary

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. • New York City’s Board of Corrections voted to implement strict restrictions on the placement of young people in solitary confinement at Rikers Island – but they also moved to […]

Teens in Isolation: State Advisers to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission Hold Briefing on Juvenile Solitary Confinement in New York

An isolation cell in "the Bing" on Rikers Island. Some 60 percent of the adolescents sent to Rikers have been diagnosed with mental illness. Many end up doing time in solitary.

Johnny Perez was sixteen when he was arrested for weapons possession. New York State automatically charges people ages 16 and over as adults, so the teenager was charged as an adult. Unable to afford the $100,000 bail, he was sent to Rikers Island to await trial. There, he was placed in C-74, the unit for […]

Florida Bill Would Limit Use of Solitary Confinement on Children

When asked to describe his experience in solitary confinement in a Florida jail at the age of 16, Henry R. (pseudonym) stated: The only thing left to do is go crazy—just sit and talk to the walls… I catch myself [talking to the walls] every now and again. It’s starting to become a habit because I have […]

Photography Exhibition Highlights Children in Solitary

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We’ve written before about Richard Ross’s powerful photographs of children in the American criminal justice system. Ross’s Juvenile-in-Justice project now includes a book and a website, and his photos are currently being exhibited at the Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York City through February 16. While the project does not focus solely on solitary confinement, a shocking number […]

Kids in Solitary Confinement: America’s Official Child Abuse


The title of this post is the title of our most recent piece for The Guardian. It draws on a new report released yesterday by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, titled Growing Up Locked Down: Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons Across the United States. The report is a shocking […]

Scientists Discover How Social Isolation Damages Young Brains

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In his groundbreaking 2009 New Yorker article on solitary confinement as torture, Atul Gawande described a researcher in the 1950s who raised a group of baby Rhesus monkeys in complete isolation from one another. While they grew up physically healthy, the monkeys “were also profoundly disturbed, given to staring blankly and rocking in  place for […]

Controversy Over Kids in Solitary Confinement in Texas

Not to be missed (though we did, initially) is a recent post on the Texas criminal justice blog Grits for Breakfast, titled Solitary Confinement at Texas Youth Prisons: A Brief History. As blogger Scott Henson points out, every time violence increases in the youth prisons under the management of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, elected officials begin […]

Children in Solitary

This week, the The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry released a policy statement condemning the use of solitary confinement for juveniles. There is no comprehensive data on how many teens and even younger children are in solitary confinement in the United States, but it is safe to say that the number run into the […]

Children in Lockdown: Solitary Confinement of Teens in Adult Prisons

Ian Manuel in 2007, after more than 15 years in solitary, Photo by Glenn Paul from "Cruel and Unusual."

While there are no concrete numbers, it’s safe to say that hundreds, if not thousands of children are in solitary confinement in the United States–some in juvenile detention facilities, and some in adult prisons. Short bouts of solitary confinement are even viewed as a legitimate form of punishment in some American schools.  In this first post on the subject, we address teenagers in […]