UN Committee on Torture Questions U.S. Record on Solitary Confinement

Members of the UN Committee on Torture question a U.S. delegation at a hearing in Geneva last week.

Last Wednesday and Thursday, United States government officials met with representatives at the United Nations to discuss the country’s compliance with the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). Every country that is a signatory to the CAT is required to submit a “Periodic Report” to the […]

At Hearing on Solitary Confinement in California Prisons, Advocates Challenge “Reforms”

Demonstrators gather at the State Capitol in Sacramento on Tuesday. Photo by Pete Brook.

“We’re here to question the existence and effects of the SHU,” stated California Assembly Member Tom Ammiano on Tuesday, “and we don’t think this new proposed policy goes nearly far enough.” Ammiano, who chairs the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee, was speaking at the second joint California Assembly-Senate hearing on the use of solitary confinement, including SHUs (Security Housing […]

Montana Legislature Considers Solitary Confinement Reform

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On Friday, February 22nd, the Montana House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on House Bill 536, entitled the “Montana Solitary Confinement Act,” sponsored by legislator Franke Wilmer. The bill, which the National Religious Campaign Against Torture calls a “critical opportunity to lead the way nationally in increasing access to rehabilitation and reducing harm,” would place […]

Pennsylvania Legislators to Hold Hearing on Solitary Confinement

RHU cell of prisoner Matthew Bullock, who committed suicide in 2009.

On Tuesday, September 18th the Pennsylvania House Democratic Party Policy Committee will hold a hearing entitled “Effects of Solitary Confinement.” The hearing will feature testimony from Dr. Terry Kupers, Dr. Craig Haney, former Restricted Housing Unit inmate LuQman Abdullah, and others. The hearing will be at 10:00 AM at Temple University, President’s Conference Suite, First Floor, 1810 […]

The “Torture of Isolation” Gains Media Attention

“The Torture of Isolation” is the title of a post on Andrew Sullivan’s hugely popular blog The Dish, at the Daily Beast. The post features a new video from Reason TV, a project of the libertarian foundation that also publishes Reason magazine. Reason’s editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie interviews SW’s James Ridgeway on solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails. Also referenced in […]

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 […]

Now Available: Collection of Written Testimony for Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Solitary Confinement

Solitary Watch is building an archive of written testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, in connection with the hearing on solitary confinement to be held on Tuesday at 10 am. You can access the archive (still a work-in-progress) by clicking here, or by going through our Resources page. […]

Roundup of Testimony from California Assembly Hearing on Solitary Confinement

Today, some inmates in the Security Housing Units (SHUs) at Pelican Bay and Calipatria State Prisons in California will resume a hunger strike demanding reforms ranging from nutritious meals to reducing the use of long-term solitary confinement. In response to a three-week hunger strike this past summer, the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee held a hearing on […]