British Supreme Court Rules Against Unlawful Use of Prolonged Solitary Confinement

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom handed down a ruling this week against the use of prolonged solitary confinement without mandatory external review.

Britain’s highest court has ruled that putting individuals in solitary confinement for an extended period of time without external review is unlawful. The appellants Kamel Bourgass and Tanvir Hussain were both wrongfully held in solitary for more than six months because the process lacked oversight, the UK Supreme Court ruled. “The decisions to continue the […]

Seven Days in Solitary [7/26/2015]

Solitary confinement news roundup: 7 Days in 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. • North Carolina reached a $2.5 million settlement with the estate of Michael Kerr, who died of dehydration in 2014 after being held in solitary confinement for 35 days. • According […]

Seven Days in Solitary [7/5/2015]

Solitary confinement news roundup: 7 Days in 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 Huffington Post published a “terrifying glimpse into life in prison–as a kid,” including the use of solitary confinement. • The week’s New York Magazine cover story was devoted to examining […]

Kalief Browder’s Life and Death Galvanize Action to End Solitary Confinement

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Three weeks ago, a young African American man from the Bronx took his own life. The impact of Kalief Browder’s suicide has been felt at the city, state, and even federal levels, and may be felt far into the future. Browder’s story, in which he was held on Rikers Island for three years beginning at […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/28/2015]

Solitary confinement news roundup: 7 Days in 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. • Advocates and advocates gathered on Rikers Island to demand justice for Kalief Browder, a 22-year-old who committed suicide after spending three years at the jail, including 400 days in […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/21/15]

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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. • Terrence Pendergrass, a former captain at Rikers Island, was sentenced to five years in prison for violating the civil rights of an inmate who died under his watch. Jason […]

Supreme Court Takes the “Radical” Stance That Prisoners Are Human Beings

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in his dissenting opinion to last week’s Brown v. Plata decision, called the ruling “perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation’s history.”  Since Scalia is the ultimate legal literalist, we presumably ought to take his written opinions literally. So what is this decision that the Court’s most conservative justice finds […]

Prisoner Sent to Solitary for Reporting Rape Takes Her Case to the Supreme Court

Back in May, we wrote about the case of a woman prisoner named Michelle Ortiz, who was first chastised and then shackled and sent to solitary confinement as punishment for reporting her molestation and subsequent rape by a male guard. As the Columbus Dispatch reported: When Ortiz reported the first assault to prison official Paula […]

John Thompson Takes a Louisiana Injustice from Death Row to the Supreme Court

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The model electric chair sitting on the desk of New Orleans prosecutor JimWilliams was like a piece of stranger-than-fiction Louisiana Gothic. But for John Thompson, it was all too real. “Seated” in the electric chair were photographs of five African American men that the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office had proudly sent to death row. […]

Supreme Court Decision Limits Juvenile Life Without Parole (Within Limits)

CHILDREN IN LOCKDOWN The U.S. Supreme Court today barred a practice that is already considered unconscionable in the rest of the world. In a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled that sentencing juveniles to life without the possibility of parole for any crime short of murder violates the Constitution’s 8th Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In […]