Prisons Use Solitary Confinement to Silence Strikers Nationwide—But Their Voices Have Been Heard

In commemoration of the Attica Uprising 47 years earlier, incarcerated organizers chose yesterday as the final day of the nearly three-week-long National Prison Strike that began on August 21. The strike eventually extended to federal prisons, state prisons, immigration detention centers, and local jails across at least fourteen states, with actions ranging from work stoppages […]

Seven Days in Solitary [9/2/18]

• The Guardian reported further suppression and retaliation against incarcerated organizers of the Nationwide Prison Strike, specifically through the use of solitary confinement and long-distance transfers. According to a spokesperson for the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, “Leaders were picked off, one by one, and thrown into solitary in anticipation of the strike that was coming.” […]

Seven Days in Solitary [7/22/18]

• The Midland Reporter-Telegraph covered a hearing with lawmakers in Santa Fe this week regarding allegations of abuse and solitary confinement at Otero County Processing Center and Cibola County facility, both privately operated Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in New Mexico. Joselin Mendez, who was held at Cibola County facility after fleeing gender discrimination […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/11/18]

• The new film Cruel and Unusual is the story of the Angola 3—Robert King, Herman Wallace, and Albert Woodfox, who collectively endured more than 100 years in solitary confinement in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola (and whose story helped inspire us to launch Solitary Watch eight years ago). The feature-length documentary tells a story of […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/9/2017]

• The NPR show “Hidden Brain” interviewed UC Irvine criminology professor Keramet Reiter about what happens to the mind in isolation. “Reiter says inmates living in isolation crave things we might take for granted, such as the touch of another person or the sight of the moon. They often find it hard to differentiate one […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/19/2017]

•  Lawyers for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who is currently held in solitary confinement in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, have filed papers asking that their client be transferred to general population and be granted visiting privileges to speak to his wife. According to CNN, “During the week, Guzman spends 23 hours […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/12/2017]

•  New Mexico counties have been forced to pay more than $20 million in civil rights about solitary confinement thus far, and may pay out even more in the near future – five solitary confinement-related suits have been filed against the New Mexico counties in the last 18 months. George Abila recently won a $1.9 […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/5/2017]

•  Last April, dozens of immigrant detainees went on hunger strike at a privately-run Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Georgia, prompting staff to lock them up in solitary confinement. Spencer Woodman reported the story for the Verge. •  GQ published an in-depth look into solitary confinement. “It is brutal. It is torture by definition. […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/19/2017]

•  “Between 2012 and 2015, nine inmates in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester took their own lives, giving Oklahoma’s only state-owned maximum security prison the highest suicide rate among corrections facilities,” according to an article published by Oklahoma Watch. All were in a type of isolated confinement when they died. •  “A North Carolina […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/12/2017]

•  State representative Aaron Regunburg, who has been chairing a Rhode Island House committee on the use of solitary confinement, was interviewed on a local radio station about the practice. “Solitary has been shown to damage mental health, and a high percentage of attempted suicides in prisons take place in solitary confinement,” notes the web […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/29/2017]

•  Timothy Muise was released from solitary confinement at MCI Norfolk in Massachusetts after being sent there for two weeks for speaking by phone to a local radio station, on the topic of lack of accountability in the Department of Corrections. His placement in the hole “pending investigation” of what was classified as a lowest level disciplinary […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/16/2016]

• Rikers Island has officially ended its placement of 19-to-21 year olds in solitary confinement, who will now instead be placed in the jail’s Secure Unit or Enhanced Supervision Unit. Advocates expressed concern that young people will still spend extended time in some form of isolation. “Our goal has never been to eliminate the term […]