At U.N. Prisoners' Rights Meeting, U.S. Resists Limits on Solitary Confinement

David Fathi, who directs the ACLU’s National Prison Project and its Stop Solitary initiative, has been reporting from the U.N. Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting on revising the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR), held last week in Buenos Aires. Fathi reported that the United States delegation proposed some “concrete and positive changes to the SMR”–but […]

California Prisoners in Solitary Confinement Petition the UN to Intervene

Comparing their conditions to a “living coffin,” a group of lawyers for hundreds of California prisoners placed in long-term or indefinite solitary confinement petitioned the United Nations yesterday to intervene on their behalf. The petition, drawn up by the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, names 22 main inmate petitioners and refers to hundreds more held in […]

Freed from an Iranian Prison, Sarah Shourd Speaks Out for U.S. Prisoners in Solitary Confinement

The New York Times today features an op-ed titled “Tortued by Solitude.” The author is Sarah Shourd, one of three Americans who were imprisoned in Iran beginning in the summer of 2009, when they were arrested and charged with espionage while hiking on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan. Her two male companions, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, […]

UN Torture Investigator Calls on Nations to End Solitary Confinement

The UN’s torture investigator, Juan Mendez, yesterday called on UN members nations to ban nearly all uses of solitary confinement in prisons, warning that is causes serious mental and physical harm and often amounts to torture. Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment, presented a written report on solitary confinement to the UN General Assembly’s […]

ACLU Urges UN to Take Action on Solitary Confinement in the United States

The American Civil Liberties Union last week filed a statement with the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, urging it to to “address the widespread violations of the human rights of prisoners in the United States associated with solitary confinement and call for the adoption of appropriate measures to protect their human rights.  The ACLU calls on […]