New Report Documents Devastating Effects of Solitary Confinement on Mental Illness

A new report released yesterday highlights the disturbing use of solitary confinement on incarcerated individuals with mental illness. Locked Up and Locked Down: Segregation of Inmates with Mental Illness, released by Disability Rights Washington, details the widespread practice of housing men, women, and children with mental illness in solitary confinement. The report shows that prisons […]

Solitary Confinement Out of Control in Florida Prisons

Florida has one of the highest rates of solitary confinement in the nation, at one eighth of the total state prison population. Florida’s usage of solitary is extreme not only in its scale, but also its implementation, with African Americans and individuals with mental illness significantly overrepresented in isolation. Florida’s prisons and juvenile detention centers […]

After 33 Years in Solitary Confinement, Former Black Panther Russell Shoatz Will Have His Day in Court

Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, a former Black Panther who escaped from Pennsylvania prisons twice in the 1970s, was held in solitary confinement for nearly thirty-three years, including twenty-two consecutive years, from 1991 to 2014. During that time, Shoatz was in confined to his cell, in complete social isolation, for 23-24 hours a day. He contends that his time […]

Presidential Prison Politics

As prison issues and criminal justice reform become increasingly popular items on the nation’s political agenda, the 2016 presidential candidates are getting in line. Most have shifted their prison policies toward reform in recent years (or months), and almost all say they support basic reforms like reduced mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenders. Nonetheless, headlines […]

Off the Block

As the first of several journeys for Solitary Watch’s Alternatives Project, my colleague Aviva Stahl and I spent two weeks in Britain, visiting prisons and interviewing officials of HM Prison Service and its oversight bodies, advocates, lawyers, scholars, and currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. Our aim was to discover how solitary is—and is not—used in […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/7/15]

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 New Jersey bill hopes to reduce the limits on solitary confinement to no more than two days in a row for 15-year-olds, no more than three for those […]