Seven Days in Solitary [12/29/13]

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. • The Denver Post publishes an editorial in support of providing people who are held in administrative segregation at the Colorado State Penitentiary with outdoor exercise. Noting that a lawsuit has […]

Records Show Excessive Use of Force at Colorado Supermax

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Records kept by the Colorado Department of Corrections show 61 instances from March 1, 2012 to March 1 of this year of corrections officers using force on men held at the Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP), where prisoners are held in administrative segregation on lockdown for 23 hours a day. The “use of force” log, obtained by Denver’s Westword, […]

Federal Judge Criticizes Supermax Confinement in Colorado

Last week we wrote about a trial beginning in Federal District Court in Denver, in which Troy Anderson, a prisoner with mental illness, is challenging his twelve years of solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary. The lawsuit, filed by student lawyers at the University of Denver Law School’s Civil Right Clinic, could have broad significance because it […]

Solitary Confinement on Trial in Colorado

Our latest piece over at Mother Jones concerns an important trial beginning today in Federal District Court in Denver, in which a prisoner with mental illness is challenging more than a decade in solitary confinement in the Colorado State Penitentiary. Also included is background on the groundbreaking work of the University of Denver’s Civil Rights Clinic; on […]

New Study: Solitary Confinement Overused in Colorado

A new report on solitary confinement in Colorado’s state prisons concluded that there are far too many inmates in round-the-clock lockdown. A series of relatively modest changes in its classification, review, and mental health treatment practices would “significantly reduce” the number of prisoners in administrative segregation, the report found. The report was funded by the National Institute of Corrections, and […]

Voices from Solitary: Colorado Department of Corrections in Need of Correction

For seven years, Clair L. Beazer has been an inmate in the supermax Colorado State Penitentiary in Cañon City–which, as we’ve written before, qualifies as the solitary confinement capital of the Western World. In this essay, Beazer describes the effects of years of solitary confinement, pointing out that while it is particularly torturous for inmates already suffering from mental illness, this “interminable, […]

Fortresses of Solitude (Part 2)

Colorado State Penitentiary. Photo from National Geographic Explorer.

Cañon City, Colorado, is the Solitary Confinement Capital of the Western World. Now, a Small Group Lawyers, Legislators, and Activists Is Challenging This All-American Form of Torture. Part 2: Showdown at the Colorado State Penitentiary Time passes slowly for the 750 prisoners at the Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP) on the outskirts of Cañon City. For […]

Bill to Limit Solitary Confinement Introduced in Colorado Legislature

A bill just introduced in the Colorado state legislature would place curbs on the use of solitary confinement in state prisons, especially on prisoners with mental illness. As we’ve written before, Colorado makes liberal use of solitary confinement. The practice has spurred public debate over the opening of an second costly supermax prison in the midst of a budget crisis, […]

“Fatal Flaws” in the Colorado Solitary Confinement Study

Guest Post by Stuart Grassian, M.D. Editors’ Note: The Colorado Department of Corrections recently released the controversial results of a year-long, federally funded study conducted at the Colorado State Penitentiary, a supermax prison in Cañon City where more than 700 men are held in solitary confinement. Entitled “One Year Longitudinal Study of the Psychological Effects of Administrative Segregation,” […]

Colorado State Penitentiary II Opens With 300 New Solitary Confinement Cells

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Colorado already has hundreds of “administrative segregation” cells, and Colorado State Penitentiary’s ad seg unit is becoming notorious since National Geographic fimed a show on solitary confinement there. The state is also broke, making deep cuts to education and other public services. Nevertheless, following a protracted budget battle, Colorado came up with more than $10 million to open one tower […]