Voices from Solitary: High Tech Brutality

Robert “Saleem” Holbrook is serving life without parole in Pennsylvania for a crime committed when he was a juvenile. When he was 16, Holbrook was recruited by adults to serve as a lookout during a drug deal that escalated to robbery and then murder. Under the state’s mandatory sentencing laws, he was given LWOP–an experience he describes in an […]

"Occupy" Prison Protests in California Oppose Use of Solitary Confinement

Protestors outside the LA County Jail Solitary confinement was very much on the agenda during yesterday’s “Occupy for Prisoners”protests at more than a dozen sites around the country. This was particularly true in California, where recent prisoner hunger strikes have called attention to conditons in the state’s all-solitary Security Housing Units (SHUs) and Administrative Segregation […]

Solitary Confinement in Virginia's Prisons

For anyone who missed it, this front page article in Sunday’s Washington Post gives excellent coverage to the widespread use of solitary confinement in Virginia’s state prisons. It begins with a glance at one of the nation’s most notorious supermax prisons, Red Onion, and then goes on to discuss efforts to limit the use of solitary in Virginia–which […]

"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 […]

Voices from Solitary: The Meaning of "Life"

Joseph Dole is currently serving a life sentence without parole at Tamms state supermax prison in Illinois. For the past eight years, he has been in solitary confinement (under conditions described by Dole himself here, and detailed in recent newspaper exposés here and here). His writing has been honored by the PEN American Center’s Prison Writing Contest and appears […]