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Opening the Door

Fri, 2016-04-29 13:45
For 13 of his 22 years in prison, Cero Smith spent 23 hours a day alone in a small concrete cell. Three times a day, a corrections officer would pass his meals through a slot in the solid steel cell door. A CO would also take him to exercise alone for one hour in a […]

The Human Rights of the Inhumane

Tue, 2016-04-26 11:00
Almost as soon as the handcuffs came off, Anders Behring Breivik delivered a Nazi salute to the courtroom gathered for his lawsuit against the Norwegian state. He is about as loathsome as it gets—a white supremacist mass murderer, taking every opportunity to spread a message of hate. In 2011, Breivik massacred a summer camp of […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/24/2016]

Sun, 2016-04-24 17:00
• A coalition working to end solitary for children held a series of kick-off events in Washington DC. Supporters include Venida Brower, whose son Kalief committed suicide after spending time in isolation on Rikers Island as a teenager. • New York’s Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that the number of people held in solitary has […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/17/2016]

Sun, 2016-04-17 08:50
• The US Field Army Manual on interrogation lists a technique called “separation,” or solitary confinement. In recently released talking points obtained through a Freedom of Information request, the Office of the Secretary of Defense noted that solitary does not fit the definition of cruel and unusual punishment, “as it is a technique used extensively […]

In California Death Row's "Adjustment Center," Condemned Men Wait in Solitary Confinement

Wed, 2016-04-13 11:00
“When we were sentenced to death,” wrote Carlos M. Argueta from death row in California, “we weren’t sentenced to be mistreated, humiliated, discriminated against, psychologically tortured and kept in solitary dungeons until the day of our executions. Never once did the judge say that was to be part of our sentence.” He was speaking about […]

14 Days in Solitary [4/10/2016]

Sun, 2016-04-10 20:32
• The Portland Press Herald reports that a former Rhode Island prison warden is speaking out against the use of solitary confinement. Roberta Richman, who worked for the state Department of Corrections for 33 years, supports a bill that would prohibit isolation longer than 15 days. “Too many inmates come out of isolation angrier and […]

Pressure Grows in Canada for Strict Limits on the Use of Solitary Confinement in Federal and Provincial Prisons

Thu, 2016-04-07 11:00
The use of solitary confinement in Canada could soon undergo major changes as prominent figures and organizations issue ever louder calls to reform the practice – or even abolish it entirely. “Ending segregation is not a revolutionary, unrealistic, or aspirational idea,” says Renu Mandhane, Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. “It is primarily […]

How the New Settlement Will—and Will Not—Change Solitary Confinement in New York’s Prisons (Redux)

Mon, 2016-04-04 11:00
Last Thursday, a federal judge gave formal approval to the settlement in a class-action suit brought by thousands of people held in solitary confinement in New York’s prisons, represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union. The ruling codifies an agreement reached in December, after extended negotiations, between the plaintiffs and the New York State […]

Solitary Confinement Out of Control in Florida Prisons

Tue, 2016-03-29 10:30
Florida has one of the highest rates of solitary confinement in the nation, at one eighth of the total state prison population. Florida’s usage of solitary is extreme not only in its scale, but also its implementation, with African Americans and individuals with mental illness significantly overrepresented in isolation. Florida’s prisons and juvenile detention centers […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/27/2016]

Sun, 2016-03-27 17:25
• The Daily Beast reported on the role that contraband cell phones played in the recent uprising in Alabama’s Holman Correctional Facility. “Even solitary confinement can’t keep some inmates from organizing and fighting back.” • The Marshall Project and NPR published a story in collaboration with NPR about double-celling in solitary. “Imagine living in a cell […]

Innocent After Years in Solitary on Rikers, Woman Tried on New Charges for Alleged Misbehavior in Jail

Wed, 2016-03-23 16:41
When Candie Hailey was released from Rikers Island’s women’s correctional facility May 2015, after nearly three years on the island prison, she faced the challenge of putting her life back together. What made her reentry to society even more difficult was the mental and physical torture she endured while accused of a crime of which […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/20/2016]

Sun, 2016-03-20 18:02
• A Nebraska outlet profiled the experiences of Jacob Rushner. As a teenager, Rushner was kept in solitary confinement for 41 days at the Douglas County Youth Center in Omaha. • A prison captain who was fired in the wake of Michael Kerr’s 2014 death cannot get his job back, a North Carolina Court of Appeals had […]

Voices From Solitary: Restless Nights

Fri, 2016-03-18 11:00
The following account is by Nicole Natschke, who was incarcerated for years in Illinois’ Logan Correctional Facility, about three hours south of Chicago. During that time, she was “constantly in and out of segregation,” including one stay that lasted for an entire year. Logan Correctional, which was repurposed from a men’s prison to imprison women […]

BREAKING NEWS: Activist and Author Five Mualimm-ak Arrested by NYPD Following Book Launch Event

Wed, 2016-03-16 11:08
UPDATE: Five Mualimm-ak and Jazz Hayden were both released on their own recognizance late Wednesday afternoon. Click here for video of their statements following release. Also see coverage and video of the arrests on Democracy Now! and Gothamist. Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more details as they emerge. . . . . . […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/13/2016]

Sun, 2016-03-13 16:12
• A report written by a Los Angeles volunteer probation department monitor found deplorable conditions inside the city’s Central Juvenile Hall, with conditions similar to a “Third World country prison.” According to the LA Times, the report alleges that children were sent to solitary for reasons that violated departmental policy, including in one instance for sharing […]

After 33 Years in Solitary Confinement, Former Black Panther Russell Shoatz Will Have His Day in Court

Fri, 2016-03-11 13:38
Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, a former Black Panther who escaped from Pennsylvania prisons twice in the 1970s, was held in solitary confinement for nearly thirty-three years, including twenty-two consecutive years, from 1991 to 2014. During that time, Shoatz was in confined to his cell, in complete social isolation, for 23-24 hours a day. He contends that his time […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/6/2016]

Sun, 2016-03-06 10:44
• Yes! Magazine published an article about the 24 states that still put children in solitary, and the advocates that are working to change that. • Legislation to curb the use of solitary moved forward in Rhode Island, where legislators have proposed limiting the use of isolation to 15 days. “It’s used for punishment and it’s used […]

Activists Turn to Lawsuits and Legislation to Fight Solitary Confinement in New Jersey

Fri, 2016-03-04 12:00
Sometimes overshadowed by the anti-solitary movement in neighboring New York, activists in New Jersey have been fighting a battle of their own against the use of extreme isolation in state prisons and county jails. Earlier this year, they had some success when Governor Chris Christie signed into law a major juvenile justice bill that, among others […]

After California Prisons Release "Gang Affiliates" From Solitary Confinement, Costs and Violence Levels Drop

Mon, 2016-02-29 12:00
Significant reductions in California’s use of solitary confinement in state prisons are expected to save the state millions of dollars, perhaps even more if state lawmakers heed the advice of the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). Contrary to warnings by Governor Jerry Brown and others, the reductions in isolation also appear to be coinciding with […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/28/2016]

Sun, 2016-02-28 19:02
• A new report authorized by the Center for American Progress and the Movement Advancement Project examines how the US criminal justice system fails LGBT people. “LGBT people are frequently placed in solitary confinement, and transgender people are regularly placed in facilities that do not conform to their gender identity.” • The Boston Globe reported that the […]