Seven Days in Solitary [4.27.13]

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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 […]

Florida Bill Would Limit Use of Solitary Confinement on Children

When asked to describe his experience in solitary confinement in a Florida jail at the age of 16, Henry R. (pseudonym) stated: The only thing left to do is go crazy—just sit and talk to the walls… I catch myself [talking to the walls] every now and again. It’s starting to become a habit because I have […]

Kids in Solitary Confinement: America’s Official Child Abuse

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The title of this post is the title of our most recent piece for The Guardian. It draws on a new report released yesterday by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, titled Growing Up Locked Down: Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons Across the United States. The report is a shocking […]

New Report Shows Juvenile Lifers Suffering in Solitary Confinement

The United States is the only national in the world that doles out life sentences for crimes committed while the offender was below the age of 18. According to a report released yesterday by Human Rights Watch, “approximately 2,570 youth offenders serving life without parole sentences in adult US prisons,” and as inmates they “experience conditions that […]

Tuesday Night in NYC: Forum on Solitary Confinement Features UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

Tonight, a coalition of human rights and civil rights groups and faith communities will host a briefing and panel discussion on solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails, featuring some of the leading experts and advocates on this issue as well as the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on torture and other cruel, […]

Solitary Confinement Is a “Challenge for Medical Ethics”

Los Angeles County Jail: The Nation's Largest Mental Health Facility

Anyone interested in solitary confinement should be aware of this article in the most recent issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law: “Solitary Confinement and Mental Illness in U.S. Prisons: A Challenge for Medical Ethics,” by Jeffrey L. Metzner, MD and Jamie Fellner, Esq. Metzner is a respected forensic psychiatrist and professor at the University of […]

U.S. Supermax Prisons Are Challenged in the European Court of Human Rights–and Lose the First Round

The Federal Penitentiary Administrative Maximum ("ADX") in Florence, Colorado: In violation of the European Convention on Human Rights?

For years, four British nationals have been fighting against their extradition to the United States to face various terrorism charges, arguing that such a move would place them at risk of human right violations, as defined by the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. When courts in the UK ruled against the four men, they took their […]

Supreme Court Decision Limits Juvenile Life Without Parole (Within Limits)

CHILDREN IN LOCKDOWN The U.S. Supreme Court today barred a practice that is already considered unconscionable in the rest of the world. In a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled that sentencing juveniles to life without the possibility of parole for any crime short of murder violates the Constitution’s 8th Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In […]

Solitary Confinement Cells Have Become America’s New Asylums

Photo by Jenn Ackerman from "Trapped: Mental Illness in America's Prisons"

Our article “Locking Down the Mentally Ill” appeared last week on The Crime Report, the online publication of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College, City University of New York. We’re posting a few excerpts here, but hope you will read the entire piece on The Crime Report‘s site. “If you want to […]

Children in Lockdown: Solitary Confinement of Teens in Adult Prisons

Ian Manuel in 2007, after more than 15 years in solitary, Photo by Glenn Paul from "Cruel and Unusual."

While there are no concrete numbers, it’s safe to say that hundreds, if not thousands of children are in solitary confinement in the United States–some in juvenile detention facilities, and some in adult prisons. Short bouts of solitary confinement are even viewed as a legitimate form of punishment in some American schools.  In this first post on the subject, we address teenagers in […]