Voices from Solitary: The Safari from Pelikkkan Bay

A cell in the Pelican Bay SHU, where the writer lived for two decades.

Kijana Tashiri Askari has been in solitary confinement since 1994 after he was “validated” as a member of the Black Guerrilla Family. Until recently in California’s prisons, people who were validated as gang members were sentenced to indeterminate stays in the Security Housing Unit (SHU), where they spent nearly 24 hours in windowless cells. In […]

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 […]

Seven Days in Solitary [7/28/13]


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. •  According to the tally kept by The Miami Herald, 68 of the 166 men held captive at Guantanamo are hunger-striking, with 44 being force-fed and three hospitalized. The Guardian reports on the Senate’s […]

California Prisoners Launch New Hunger Strike to Protest Solitary Confinement

A SHU cell at Pelican Bay State Prison.

Hundreds of people held in California prisons are expected to launch their third large-scale hunger strike in two years today. The current strike, announced by leaders at Pelican Bay State Prison on February 14th, is seen as a resumption of the large-scale strikes in June and September 2011, when thousands of prisoners across the state stopped eating […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4.27.13]


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 Queens Chronicle reports on efforts by activists and New York City Council Members to increase transparency and and place stricter limits on the use of solitary confinement in […]

Voices from Solitary: Parts of My Mind Did Not Survive

California State Prison, Corcoran

The following was written by Chris Yingling, reflecting upon the  three years he spent in California State Prison, Corcoran’s Security Housing unit from 1994 to 1996. He was subsequently transferred to Pelican Bay State Prison “when the Feds set up shop at Corcoran because of the gladiator fights.” The “gladiator fights” were the subject of […]

Prisoner at Corcoran State Prison Commits Suicide in Solitary


Solitary Watch has recently confirmed that on August 28th,  prisoner Armando Morales (CDCR number-P80673) committed suicide by hanging in his cell at California State Prison, Corcoran. The Kings County Coroner’s office confirmed that Mr. Morales was found unresponsive at 4:41 PM in his cell by prison staff. He was found on his cell floor with a […]

Solitary Confinement Policies in California Revised Again, As Prisoner Leaders Promote End to Racial Hostilities

California Security Housing Unit Cell

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has recently circulated a memo regarding the most recent revised edition of its Step Down Program (SDP) and Security Threat Group (STG) Program proposal. The revised policies come one year after a series of statewide hunger strikes by prisoners in the Security Housing Units (SHU) in Pelican Bay and […]

Political or Gang Activity? “New Afrikan” Prisoners in Solitary Confinement

Pelican Bay SHU

Three “New Afrikan”  prisoners in California Security Housing Units (Pelican Bay and Corcoran State Prisons) have recently written to Solitary Watch criticizing their continued isolation for being members of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), the only black prison gang in California that will lead to placement in the SHU. According to Mutope Duguma (legal name […]

Prisoners in Solitary Confinement in California Respond to Prison Policy Reforms


Prisoners in California’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) have offered their opinions of the recent reforms of the California prison system’s controversial gang validation policies. In correspondences with Solitary Watch, people held in SHU at Pelican Bay and Corcoran prisons have consistently been critical of the reforms, which among other things reform the gang validation point system […]