“Suicide Checks” Lead to Extreme Sleep Deprivation at California’s Pelican Bay Prison

Since August 2015, men in the Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit have been subjected to loud, disruptive “welfare checks,” causing sleep deprivation that amounts to torture, according to prisoners rights activists. The welfare checks, which occur throughout the state prison system, were only recently implemented in the Pelican Bay SHU, which still houses […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/29/2015]

• A San Francisco federal jury awarded $25,000 to a Pelican Bay prisoner, Jesse Perez, whose cell was trashed in retaliation for his activism against solitary confinement. Before his cell was searched in October 2012 Perez had filed a lawsuit and published articles criticizing California’s use of isolation; jurors determined that guards had violated his free-speech […]

Seven Days in Solitary [9/06/2015]

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. • Coverage continued of the landmark settlement reached in California. The New York Times published an editorial supporting the development, and a Guardian story featured the stories and experiences of […]

California Prison Hunger Strikes Sparked Solitary Reforms, Internal Documents Show

How influential were the three hunger strikes held by California prisoners in spurring the sweeping changes to solitary confinement policies that were announced yesterday? The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has repeatedly stated that they were already planning to reform long-term solitary confinement before the hunger strikes of 2011 and 2013. But internal documents obtained […]

Seven Days in Solitary [8/16/2015]

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. • Journalist Raven Rakia explores the class-action lawsuit filed in June against the Illinois Department of Corrections, which alleges that the state’s use of solitary confinement violates the Constitution. Allan Mills of […]

Seven Days in Solitary [8/9/2015]

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. • Four United States senators introduced a bill that would prohibit the solitary confinement of children tried in the federal system and held in pretrial facilities and juvenile detention facilities. […]

After Hunger Strikes, Solitary Reforms Come to California’s Prisons—and Leave Thousands Behind

Four years ago today, approximately 6,600 people in California prisons launched a hunger strike in protest of long-term solitary confinement. The protest would be the first of three large-scale actions by state prisoners to bring awareness to the issue of long-term solitary confinement. At the epicenter was Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, home of […]

Seven Days in Solitary [5/3/15]

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. • A 64-year old man was found dead in his cell at San Quentin Prison. He had spent 14 years on California’s death row where 752 people still remain. […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/15/2015]

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. • A US District Judge has ruled in favor of several plaintiffs named in an ongoing class action lawsuit against the use of solitary confinement in California prisons. Incarcerated individuals […]

New Solitary Confinement Policies in California Bring Small Changes and Raise Big Questions

The latest and largest of three hunger strikes in California prisons began nearly a year ago, on July 8, 2013.  The strike brought international attention to California’s liberal use of indefinite solitary confinement and resulted in legislative hearings and the introduction of bills to curb solitary in both houses of the California state legislature. (Only one […]