Seven Days in Solitary [8/5/18]

• According to the Associated Press, lawyers for the Southern Center for Human Rights wrote a letter to Georgia corrections officials this week calling for an end to the state’s practice of releasing individuals directly from solitary confinement back into society. The lawyers, currently representing individuals held at the Special Management Unit (SMU) at the […]

Solitary Confinement on Television: 'Orange Is the New Black' and Pop Culture's Lockup Landscape

Tomorrow, Netflix will release fourteen new episodes of the hit series Orange Is the New Black, inevitably renewing discussions of a host of prison issues. From the start of the series, the incarcerated women of Litchfield Penitentiary warn protagonist Piper Chapman about the horrors of “the SHU,” the federal prison’s Segregated Housing Unit. Chapman’s character, […]

New Film Explores "the Injustice of Solitary Confinement and the Transformative Power of Art"

Premiering today at the Full Frame Documentary Festival in North Carolina is Herman’s House, a film “that follows the unlikely friendship between a New York artist and one of America’s most famous inmates as they collaborate on an acclaimed art project.” The inmate is Herman Wallace, one of the Angola 3, who on Tuesday will mark […]

"God's Own Warden": Inside Angola Prison

Editor’s Note: The latest issue of Mother Jones magazine includes James Ridgeway’s long article on Burl Cain, warden of the nation’s largest prison, and possibly its most notorious. The former slave plantation is known for the fact that 90 percent of its more than 5,000 prisoners will die behind bars, and also for holding two […]

Confronting Torture in U.S. Prisons: A Q&A With Solitary Watch

The following interview with James Ridgeway and Jean Casella, conducted by Angola 3 News, appeared earlier this week on Alternet (where you can read the introduction, which includes background on the upcoming prisoner hunger strike at Pelican Bay.) Angola 3 News: How did you first become interested in the issue of solitary confinement and ultimately become inspired to start […]

Leaving Cañon City

Solitary Watch spent last week in Colorado. We talked with faculty and students at the University of Denver Law School’s Civil Rights Clinic, which has mounted several groundbreaking legal challenges to solitary confinement. In the coming weeks we will be writing about these individual cases, as well as what we learned from meetings with other […]

Voices from Solitary: Oscar Wilde's Cry from the Depths

 In 1895, Oscar Wilde, who was arguably Britain’s most famous literary and cultural figure, was sentenced to two years’ hard labor in solitary confinement for the crime of “acts of gross indecency with other males.” He served most of that time in Reading Gaol, subject of his famous ballad.  In petitioning the government for his release, Wilde wrote that “while […]