New York Prisons Bar Media from Solitary Confinement Units

Response Letter from DOCCS 5.7.14 (1)-page-001

Late last year, we made several requests to be permitted, as members of the press, to view solitary confinement units in New York’s state prisons. After receiving no reply, we were fortunate enough to enlist the help of a pro bono attorney, Daniel Mulkoff with the firm of Cuti Hecker and Wang, who approached the New […]

Solitary Confinement: Too Controversial for Costco

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Editors’ Note: Back in October, Solitary Watch received a request from cut-rate retail giant Costco, for a 450-word essay arguing that solitary should be eliminated. The piece was to be printed in the “Informed Debate” feature in the company’s giveaway magazine, Costco Connection, which has a readership numbering 20 million people. Pleased that such a large […]

Guarding the Fortresses: How Prison Policies Limit Media Access to Solitary Confinement

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Journalists face serious obstacles to reporting on prisons–and even more to uncovering the truth about solitary confinement. (See James Ridgeway’s essay “Fortresses of Solitude.”) Public oversight of governmental institutions, which can help to prevent corruption and abuse by those in power, is seen as a hallmark of an engaged, democratic citizenry. However, when it comes […]

Fortresses of Solitude: Journalists Barred from Prison Isolation Units

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The following essay by Solitary Watch’s James Ridgeway appears in the current issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, which also includes an excellent story on the difficulties involved in reporting on prisons in general. For more on prison media policies, see our accompanying article by Rachel M. Cohen. Supermax prisons and solitary confinement units are our domestic […]

As Washington State Prisons Begin Reforms, 800 Remain in Solitary Confinement

IMU at Stafford Creek Correctional Center, Credit: TONY OVERMAN

On January 7th, the Seattle Times reported that “Washington’s prisons are at the forefront of a new approach to solitary confinement, finding that a new focus on rehabilitation may calm some inmates’ behavior in prison and prevent violence once they are back on the street.” The article reports: [Washingon] began reconsidering solitary after violent clashes […]

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 […]