Seven Days in Solitary [5/20/18]

• The Charlotte Observer reported that 39-year-old Kenneth Wayne Bigham committed suicide only days after being placed in solitary confinement at Mecklenburg County Jail in North Carolina, where no visitors, phone calls, or books are allowed, with the exception of religious material. A spokesperson for the NC ACLU said, “This tragedy is a terrible reminder […]

Supreme Court Justice Kennedy Invites Constitutional Challenge of Solitary Confinement

Guest Post by Samuel Weiss and Amy Fettig Samuel Weiss is Ford Foundation Fellow at the ACLU’s Center for Justice. Amy Fettig is Senior Staff Counsel at the ACLU’s National Prison Project. In March, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was testifying before the House Appropriations Subcommittee when he received a question on prison overcrowding. He responded […]

Supreme Court Justice Kennedy: "Solitary Confinement Literally Drives Men Mad"

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Monday used long-term solitary confinement as evidence that the “idea of total incarceration just isn’t working.” Solitary “literally drives men mad,” Kennedy said, noting that more humane alternatives are employed elsewhere in the world. Kennedy’s comments were made during a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the 2016 Budget Request for […]

Supreme Court Takes the "Radical" Stance That Prisoners Are Human Beings

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in his dissenting opinion to last week’s Brown v. Plata decision, called the ruling “perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation’s history.”  Since Scalia is the ultimate legal literalist, we presumably ought to take his written opinions literally. So what is this decision that the Court’s most conservative justice finds […]