UN Committee on Torture Says U.S. Must Reform Its Use of Solitary Confinement

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On November 28, the United Nations Committee Against Torture released a 15 page report reviewing the United States’ compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). The report cites the excessive use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails as a violation of CAT, and […]

U.S. Government Tells UN Committee on Torture: “There Is No Systematic Use of Solitary Confinement in the United States”

Representatives of "civil society" have been asked to comment on a report stating that the U.S. does not torture.

Today, dozens of advocates will travel from around the country to Washington, DC, to take part in what are called “Civil Society Consultations” with representatives of the U.S. government on the subject of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). As a signatory of CAT, the […]

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

A New York State SHU cell.

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

United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Torture: Solitary Confinement in the United States Can Be Torture

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]

Pictured: Solitary confinement cell

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]

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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. • 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

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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 […]

UN Human Rights Council Considers Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons

This account, from the American Civil Liberties Union’s “Blog of Rights,” includes a link to the ACLU’s full statement to the UN on solitary confinement in the United States, as well as to the report by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez. The ACLU’s Amy Fettig appeared before the U.N. Human Rights Council today to condemn the […]

National and International Events Challenging Use of Solitary Confinement

Following is information on two important upcoming events that examine and challenge the practice of solitary confinement, both in the United States and internationally. The first will take place in New York on Thursday evening, and is sponsored by the Human Rights Committee of the New York City Bar Association: “SUPERMAX” CONFINEMENT IN U.S. PRISONS: A […]