Voices from Solitary: At War With My Own Self

Model of a New York State SHU cell created by the New York Civil Liberties Union.

This following account was written by Anthony Lamar Davis, 34, who has been incarcerated for 11 years of a 22-year sentence. He has spent more than six of those years in solitary confinement. In New York State prisons, about 13,000 sentences to solitary confinement in the Special Housing Units, or SHUs, are handed out each year, most […]

Pennsylvania Prison System Faces Lawsuit Over Suicide of Young Man with Mental Illness

Brandon Palakovic with his mother, Renee Palakovic.

On July 17, 2012, Brandon Palakovic, 23, committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell while housed in a solitary confinement unit at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Cresson, a Pennsylvania prison that has since closed its doors. Nearly two years later, on July 8, 2014, Palakovic’s parents filed a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PADOC). […]

Videos Show Brutal Treatment of Prisoners with Mental Illness

Disturbing footage shows guards were ordered to use excessive force on suicidal prisoner Isaiah Moreno at Denver City Jail.

Recently obtained videos which have been exposed to the public show corrections officers using extreme force on incarcerated people suffering from various forms of mental illness. Attack on a Suicidal Man at Denver City Jail Footage of one such video (shown below), taken in September of last year and later obtained by The Colorado Independent through an […]

Voices from Solitary: Reach Out

Ricky Silva, help in close management, or solitary confinement, in Florida State Prison

The following two poems come from Ricky Silva, who is currently serving a life sentence at Florida State Prison. Silva, 34, has been held in close management, or solitary confinement, for over four years. Regarding the first poem below, entitled “Killed by the Dark,” Silva expresses his sadness and anger at the suicide of another prisoner, also […]

A Month in Solitary [8/31/13]

Pictured: Solitary confinement cell

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past month that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • According to the tally kept by the Miami Herald, 35 of the 166 men held captive at Guantanamo are engaged in a hunger strike, with 32 being force-fed and one hospitalized. Most […]

Seven Days in Solitary [7/28/13]

solitary

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. •  According to the tally kept by The Miami Herald, 68 of the 166 men held captive at Guantanamo are hunger-striking, with 44 being force-fed and three hospitalized. The Guardian reports on the Senate’s […]

Suicide in Solitary: A Mother Remembers Her Son

RHU Cell

Yesterday we published a guest post by the Human Rights Coalition (HRC) about the U.S. Department of Justice’s scathing report on the Pennsylvania prison SCI Cresson. According to the DOJ, “Cresson routinely locks prisoners with serious mental illness in their cells for roughly 23 hours per day for months, even years, at a time. At Cresson, the […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/2/13]

solitary

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 Guardian reports on an open letter written by hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay, stating “[t]he signatories protest that the forced feedings administered by military physicians at Guantánamo are ‘extremely […]

“Systemic Failures Persist” in California Prison Mental Health Care, Judge Rules

CA_Suicides_2011

California Governor Jerry Brown’s bid to end federal control over the state prison system’s mental health system was denied in federal court on Friday, April 5, in a sharply worded ruling by U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton. In the 68-page ruling, Judge Karlton determined that “systemic failures persist in the form of inadequate suicide […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4.4.13]

solitary

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement  from the past week. •  First Run Features announces the New York premiere of Herman’s House this week. The film, which explores the “injustice of solitary confinement and the transformative power of art,” will be opening April 19,2013, at Cinema Village in New York City. • WUSA9 […]