The Use of Isolation in U.S. Prisons: A Human Rights Issue

Guest Post by Bonnie Kerness Editor’s Note: As coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Project, Bonnie Kerness is a leading voice for humanitarian reform of U.S. prisons, jails and detention centers. Kerness is also a pioneer in raising awareness about the use of prolonged solitary confinement and in uncompromisingly identifying the practice as a […]

Bonnie Kerness: Pioneer in the Struggle Against Solitary Confinement

Guest Post by Lance Tapley In 1986 Ojore Lutalo, a black revolutionary in the Trenton State Prison — now the New Jersey State Prison — wrote to Bonnie Kerness’s American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) office in Newark. His letter described the extreme isolation and other brutalities in the prison’s Management Control Unit, which he called a “prison […]

AFSC Releases "Survivors Manual" By and For Prisoners in Solitary Confinement

The American Friends Service Committee has put out a new edition of the vital publication Survivors Manual: Surviving in Solitary — A Manual Written By and For People Living in Control Units. The volume is a collection of letters, stories, poetry, and practical advice on surviving solitary confinement in prisons. AFSC released the following announcement last week: Solitary confinement, characterized […]

Voices from Solitary: High Tech Brutality

Robert “Saleem” Holbrook is serving life without parole in Pennsylvania for a crime committed when he was a juvenile. When he was 16, Holbrook was recruited by adults to serve as a lookout during a drug deal that escalated to robbery and then murder. Under the state’s mandatory sentencing laws, he was given LWOP–an experience he describes in an […]

Voices from the "Torture Chambers": Solitary Confinement and Political Repression

Guest Post by Bonnie Kerness Editor’s Note: Bonnie Kerness of the American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Project was one of the first Americans to name the widespread use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons as a form of torture. Her longtime battle against this practice is just one chapter in a lifetime spent in various forms of social justice […]