The Human Rights of the Inhumane

Almost as soon as the handcuffs came off, Anders Behring Breivik delivered a Nazi salute to the courtroom gathered for his lawsuit against the Norwegian state. He is about as loathsome as it gets—a white supremacist mass murderer, taking every opportunity to spread a message of hate. In 2011, Breivik massacred a summer camp of […]

14 Days in Solitary [4/10/2016]

• The Portland Press Herald reports that a former Rhode Island prison warden is speaking out against the use of solitary confinement. Roberta Richman, who worked for the state Department of Corrections for 33 years, supports a bill that would prohibit isolation longer than 15 days. “Too many inmates come out of isolation angrier and […]

Pressure Grows in Canada for Strict Limits on the Use of Solitary Confinement in Federal and Provincial Prisons

The use of solitary confinement in Canada could soon undergo major changes as prominent figures and organizations issue ever louder calls to reform the practice – or even abolish it entirely. “Ending segregation is not a revolutionary, unrealistic, or aspirational idea,” says Renu Mandhane, Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. “It is primarily […]

How the New Settlement Will—and Will Not—Change Solitary Confinement in New York’s Prisons (Redux)

Last Thursday, a federal judge gave formal approval to the settlement in a class-action suit brought by thousands of people held in solitary confinement in New York’s prisons, represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union. The ruling codifies an agreement reached in December, after extended negotiations, between the plaintiffs and the New York State […]

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 […]

Voices From Solitary: Restless Nights

The following account is by Nicole Natschke, who was incarcerated for years in Illinois’ Logan Correctional Facility, about three hours south of Chicago. During that time, she was “constantly in and out of segregation,” including one stay that lasted for an entire year. Logan Correctional, which was repurposed from a men’s prison to imprison women […]

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 […]