In Open Letter to President Obama, Groups Push for Solitary Confinement Reforms

More than 100 organizations from across the United States sent an open letter to President Obama Friday calling for the elimination of long-term and indefinite solitary confinement. The signatories – including civil and human rights groups, religious organizations, and groups of defense attorneys and mental health professionals – ask the President to take quick and […]

Audit of Solitary Confinement in Federal Prisons: An Inside Job Reaches Foregone Conclusions

A long-awaited audit of the use of solitary and other forms of isolated confinement in the federal Bureau of Prison (BOP) recommends minor reforms while affirming the overall legitimacy and efficacy of a system that holds more than 10,000 people in extreme isolation. At 242 pages in length, the Federal Bureau of Prisons: Special Housing Unit Review […]

American Experts Urge British Not to Believe What They Hear About US Prison Conditions

In October 2012, five individuals were extradited from the United Kingdom to the United States to face terrorism charges. The transfer came after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that prison conditions at ADX Florence–where the suspects would likely be held if convicted–were not incompatible with Article 3 of the European Convention of […]

ADX H-Unit on Hunger Strike, Prisoners Being Force-Fed

According to reports this morning from inside the U.S. Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, CO, eight to nine people held in the super-secret H-Unit are on hunger strike and are being force-fed. While run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the unit has strong FBI involvement in its management. In November of […]

Far from Guantánamo, Torture Takes Root in American Soil

Tomorrow at 6 pm, activists with the No Separate Justice campaign will gather at Lower Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center to protest what they believe are torture and other travesties taking place in the heart of the federal justice system. MCC, a federal jail, is located a stone’s throw from the U.S. Courthouse for the Southern District of […]

Women in Solitary Confinement: Buried Inside the Federal Prison System

This past September, in response to continued criticism around its use of solitary confinement, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) began an internal audit of its “restricted housing operations.” As noted earlier by Solitary Watch, no women’s prisons are listed in the Scope of Work provided by the team hired to conduct the Special Housing […]

New Campaign Highlights Post-9/11 Civil and Human Rights Abuses on American Soil

This past weekend, activists across the country and around the world marked the 12th anniversary of the arrival of the first prisoners to the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Detainees there have endured numerous forms of torture, including waterboarding, “stress positions,” prolonged solitary confinement, and force-feeding, as well as indefinite detention without trial, […]

DC’s Youth Face Solitary Confinement in District Jails and Federal Prisons

Just east of Capitol Hill, on 19th Street between D and E streets, lies a complex of reddish brown concrete buildings. These are the District of Columbia’s jail facilities – the Central Detention Facility (CDF) and The Central Treatment Facility (CTF). Along with some 2,000 adults, these buildings house children under the age of 18 who have […]

Voices from Solitary: “Finally Out and Among the Living”

This essay by John Jay Powers was published by the Colorado Independent, with the following introductory note by editor Susan Greene. Greene has corresponded with Powers for years, and included him in her multimedia investigation of solitary confinement, The Gray Box. “Jack Powers is an inmate in the federal Bureau of Prisons convicted of bank robbery and escaping from prison. […]

Voices from Solitary: “A Prison Where the Building Becomes the Shackles”

Former political prisoner Ray Luc Levasseur was raised in Maine, born to a working-class family of Quebecois origin. He became politically radicalized at a young age, first after serving a term of duty in Vietnam, and again after spending two years in a Tennessee prison.  In 1986, Ray Luc Levasseur was convicted for militant activities conducted […]