Guarding Solitary Confinement

Recently, Solitary Watch had the opportunity to sit down with “X,” a former corrections officer who spent almost two years working on a segregation unit in Pennsylvania. (The guard requested complete anonymity in exchange for the interview). X, now 48, worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections between 2006 and 2009, and in the Special […]

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 […]

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 […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/29/13]

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. • The Denver Post publishes an editorial in support of providing people who are held in administrative segregation at the Colorado State Penitentiary with outdoor exercise. Noting that a lawsuit has […]

How Many People Are In Solitary Confinement in California's Prisons?

With the considerable attention focused on solitary confinement in California, Solitary Watch has observed inconsistent and widely varied statistics provided on the number of individuals housed in solitary in the state. We have reviewed and compiled statistics reported monthly by each prison through the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) COMPSTAT reports (Computer Statistics […]

Federal Bureau of Prisons Details Plans for Limited "Audit" of Solitary Confinement Practices

Last week, representatives of six nonprofit organizations critical of solitary confinement met in a closed-door meeting in Washington, D.C., with the team hired to conduct an internal audit of the federal Bureau of Prisons’ controversial “segregation” policies. The idea for an audit came out of Senator Dick Durbin’s June 2012 Senate hearing on solitary confinement, […]

Voices from Solitary: Welcome to the SHU

Karl ChuJoy is currently serving three years in solitary confinement in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) of Elmira Correctional Facility in upstate New York, for possessing a laptop computer. He writes in a letter to Solitary Watch: “I’ve been incarcerated since I was fifteen (15) years old. I am now thirty-six (36)…I’m halfway through these three (3) […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/20/13]

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. • The Seattle Times reports on a new program for prisoners with mental illness who are held in isolation at Washington’s Monroe Correctional Complex. According to the story, “The new Reintegration and […]