Funding Approved for Activation of ADX/USP Thomson, New Federal Supermax Prison

Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, Illinois (Photo: suntimes.com)

Even as it touts new initiatives to reduce the number of people it holds in solitary confinement, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) continues to quietly make headway on the activation of Thomson Correctional Center in northwestern Illinois. If all proceeds as planned, Thomson will substantially increase the federal government’s capacity to hold individuals in […]

Way Down in the Hole: Senate Hearing Challenges Solitary Confinement for Some, But Not All

Damon Thibodeaux, who spent 15 years in solitary confinement on Louisiana's death row, testifies at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on February 25.

It didn’t take much reading between the lines to decipher the central message of last week’s Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on solitary confinement. Lawmakers and witnesses alike appeared to agree: There are people in solitary confinement in American prisons who just don’t belong there. And then, there are other people who do. In taking this […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/16/14]

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. • At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Robert King of the Angola 3, University of California Santa Cruz Professor Craig Haney and […]

Under Fire, the Federal Bureau of Prisons Audits Its Use of Solitary Confinement——and Buys a New Supermax Prison

Solitary confinement cells at ADX Florence, the federal supermax in Colorado.

Amidst growing criticism of its abundant use solitary confinement, the federal Bureau of Prisons has quietly set in motion an “internal audit” to review its “restricted housing operations.” The audit, which has been contracted out to a Washington think tank and will be conducted largely by former corrections officials, seems unlikely to bring any dramatic change […]

Obama’s 2014 Budget Confirms Plans for “ADX Thomson,” New Federal Supermax Prison

Thomson-CC-1

The Obama Administration’s 2014 budget request for the Department of Justice, released this week, confirms that the federal government will open a second ultra-secure supermax prison within the next two years. The new prison will be an “Administrative Maximum U.S. Penitentiary.” Administrative Maximum is a security classification currently held only by the notorious ADX Florence in Colorado, where […]

Feds to Open New Supermax Prison Cells at “Gitmo North”

thomson

Even as it announces a review and reduction of its solitary confinement practices, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons confirmed to Solitary Watch that a newly acquired prison ln Illinois will hold federal prisoners in supermax conditions. “Thomson will be a high security prison holding inmates with various security needs, including SMU and ADX type inmates,” said BOP spokesperson Chris Burke […]

Federal Bureau of Prisons to Undergo Review of Solitary Confinement Practices

Cell at ADX federal supermax

On Monday, the office of Illinois Senator Dick Durbin put out the following press release, announcing that the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) had agreed to submit to a review of its solitary confinement practices. In 2010, a spokesperson for the BOP said that federal prisons held approximately 11,150 prisoners in some form of segregated “special housing.” This figure includes the 400 […]

Report from Senate Hearing on Solitary Confinement

Our report on today’s hearing was published by Mother Jones. It starts out this way: The cell placed at the back of the hearing room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building was a pretty accurate replica of a real isolation cell—the kind that exists in supermax prisons and solitary confinement units all over the country. It […]

First Congressional Hearing on Solitary Confinement to Be Held June 19

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, chaired by Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin, has announced that it will hold a hearing later this month on solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails–the first-ever Congressional hearing on this subject. The subcommittee released the following information today: Reassessing Solitary Confinement: The Human Rights, Fiscal, […]

No Budget Cuts for Federal Prisons

In the midst of an epic budget battle that could transform the American landscape for decades to come, the White House and Republicans in Congress appear to agree on one point: Federal prisons need more money. With more people and a higher percentage of the population locked up than any other country, the United States would seem […]