Settlement in 11-Year Lawsuit Promises Relief from Abuse for Mentally Ill in South Carolina's Prisons

On May 31, 2016, a settlement was released in the longstanding class-action lawsuit between South Carolina-based Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities Inc (P&A) and the South Carolina Department of Corrections. If approved by a judge, the settlement would benefit the approximately 3,500 individuals with mental illness incarcerated in South Carolina. P&A and SCDC […]

Settlement Limits Solitary Confinement for People With Mental Illness in Indiana's Prisons

A settlement reached last week in a class-action lawsuit regarding the solitary confinement of individuals with mental illness in Indiana’s prisons promises sweeping reforms that will affect hundreds of people. The suit against the Indiana Department Of Correction (DOC) has been ongoing since 2008, when the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU) and the […]

Legal Settlement Is Having a "Transformative Effect" on Solitary Confinement in California Prisons

California’s historic settlement ending the use of indefinite solitary confinement in the state prison system is now official. On January 26, U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken approved the settlement agreement reached between California prison officials and lawyers for individuals who had spent more than ten years in solitary confinement in the prison system’s Security Housing […]

Judged Incompetent to Stand Trial, People with Mental Illness Still Languish in Pennsylvania Jails

Some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens—people facing criminal charges who are not competent to stand trial because of mental disabilities—have begun a class action lawsuit over the state’s provision of mental health treatment. Last month, eleven plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, sued the heads of a state agency and of the two state […]

At Louisiana's Angola Prison, Lawsuit Claims, the Sick Face Neglect, Isolation, and Death

Men incarcerated at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, commonly known as Angola, are suing prison officials and the Louisiana Department of Corrections for failing to provide adequate healthcare to the more than 6,000 people currently held there. In a scathing, 63-page complaint, lawyers representing Angola’s prison population allege that men are routinely denied appropriate medical care, resulting in “unnecessary pain and […]

In Landmark Settlement, Solitary Confinement to Be Dramatically Reduced in California Prisons

California prison officials have agreed to limit the practice of long-term solitary confinement, four years after the first hunger strike began in protest of the practice. Under a historic agreement reached in the Ashker v. Brown suit between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of individuals in […]

Reports Condemn Healthcare and Solitary Confinement in Arizona State Prisons

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), along with California-based Prison Law Office and their co-counsel in federal class action lawsuit Parsons v. Ryan, has released a series of 26 reports alleging extensive problems with the Arizona Department of Corrections’ (ADC) healthcare program and its use of solitary confinement. Prison Law Office director Don Specter stated the groups requested the reports from national experts in […]

Pennsylvania Prison System Faces Lawsuit Over Suicide of Young Man with Mental Illness

On July 17, 2012, Brandon Palakovic, 23, committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell while housed in a solitary confinement unit at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Cresson, a Pennsylvania prison that has since closed its doors. Nearly two years later, on July 8, 2014, Palakovic’s parents filed a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PADOC). […]

Lawsuit Secures New Limits on Solitary Confinement in New York's Prisons

Under pressure from a lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three people held in long-term solitary confinement, New York has agreed to a set of changes to its use of solitary and other forms of extreme isolation in state prisons. The agreement, announced on Wednesday, would bar certain vulnerable populations from isolated confinement, while […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/8/13]

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. • reports that a New York judge has ordered that the state pay former prisoner Andre Melette $1,170 for the 39 days he spent in solitary confinement in the […]