Can International Laws and Standards Help Curb Solitary Confinement in the United States?

The United States prides itself in being a leader in the international community. But when it comes to some human rights issues—including the use of solitary confinement—the U.S. lags far behind most other nations. Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, many new declarations, treaties, and standards have been produced […]

UN Investigator Says Long-Term Solitary Confinement in New York State Prisons Is Torture

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Méndez has concluded that the state of New York violated the rights of three incarcerated men “to be free from torture” by locking them up them in long-term solitary confinement.  The findings, which were submitted to the UN Human Rights Council last month, were published alongside similar “observations” […]

UN: Solitary Confinement in the U.S. Can Be Torture, Force-Feeding Unacceptable

The use of solitary confinement in California prisons can amount to “cruel punishment, even torture.” This is according to a recent news release from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in which UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Méndez addresses the issue of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and specifically those in California. The statement […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/23/13]

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. •  According to the tally kept by The Miami Herald, 104 of the 166 men held captive at Guantanamo are now on hunger strike, with 44 being force-fed and one hospitalized. The New York Times reports that […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4.12.13]

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. • Developments surrounding the systemic failures in California prisons were covered heavily by the media. Most recently, the Los Angeles Times reported on California judges’ threat to find Gov. Jerry Brown […]

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 […]