Voices from Solitary: Returned to the SHU in California

In 2013, tens of thousands of people incarcerated throughout California launched a hunger strike to protest the polices of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) around indefinite isolation in solitary confinement (also known as indeterminate sentences). The strike lasted nearly 60 days and ended only after state lawmakers promised to hold hearings around […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/25/18]

• The Washington Post reported that federal judge Leonie M. Brinkema ruled unconstitutional the state of Virginia’s practice of placing death row individuals in solitary confinement. In 2015, Virginia allegedly stopped placing individuals with death sentences in solitary confinement, but the state had refused to maintain this prohibition. However, Brinkema, the first federal judge to determine […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/18/18]

• According to the Alabama Political Reporter, Federal District Judge Myron Thompson last week ordered the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) to either remove individuals with serious mental illness from solitary confinement or provide a reason for their placement in solitary. Thompson ruled last summer that mental health care in the Alabama prison system was […]

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 [2/4/18]

• In a Joint Budget Hearing on Public Protection in Albany, New York, on January 30, New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera asked Acting Corrections Commissioner Anthony Annucci a question regarding the New York’s use of solitary confinement. Rivera referred to Colorado corrections chief Rick Raemisch, who four years ago spent 24 hours in solitary […]

New York Supermax

Imagine row after row of cell doors that rarely open and row after row of people trapped behind those doors, in small cells, day after day. Imagine having to hold most of your conversations by shouting through your cell door at voices whose faces you cannot see; imagine trying to sleep as a cacophony of […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/10/17]

• Disability Rights Oregon released a report this week documenting the psychological harm children face at Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility (NORCOR) in The Dalles, east of Portland. Young people at the juvenile detention facility are held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods of time without human contact and without the ability to read, write, […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/19/17]

• Saifullah Paracha, a 70-year-old man from Pakistan and the oldest individual incarcerated at Guantánamo Bay, says that the treatment of detainees at the facility has gotten worse since the election of Donald Trump. Last month, as reported by Newsweek, guards performed a forced “cell extraction” on Paracha before subjecting him to solitary confinement for […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/8/2017]

• The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General (IG) found in an investigation, released September 29, that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents failed to report to ICE headquarters when they place individuals with mental illness in solitary confinement. The investigation, according to an article by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), […]

Seven Days in Solitary [09/11/2017]

• A settlement has been reached after an individual incarcerated in Louisiana accused prison officials of retaliating against him for exchanging emails with a reporter. Last year, William Kissinger was transferred out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola and sent to another prison, where he was placed in solitary confinement. Under the settlement, Kissinger will […]

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 […]