New this week from Solitary Watch: In an article this week for Solitary Watch, Spencer Weinreich explores the origin of solitary confinement during the witch trials in the seventeenth century city of Bamberg. Writing about the prison Malefizhaus, Weinreich draws parallels between the torture faced by accused witches and the torture of modern solitary confinement. […]
Spencer Weinreich is a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows and Lecturer on the History of Science at Harvard University. He is currently working on a history of solitary confinement, entitled An Experimental Box. The Malefizhaus, described in this piece, is also the subject of Dr. Weinreich’s recent article in the Journal of […]
New this week from Solitary Watch: A new article originally published in Truthout, by Solitary Watch contributor Victoria Law, examines the impact of recent judicial and legislative decisions in California on the future of solitary confinement in the United States. Throughout the article, Law provides context for the recent California Ninth Circuit decision to a […]
This article was originally published on Truthout. The movement against prolonged solitary confinement in California is facing new challenges on two different fronts. First, on August 24, a three-judge panel handed down a ruling ending a federal magistrate’s ability to monitor and limit California’s use of prolonged solitary confinement. However, prisoners’ rights advocates aren’t giving […]
New this week from Solitary Watch: In the most recent edition of Voices from Solitary, incarcerated artist and activist Timothy Young writes about his struggles living on California’s Death Row. According to Young, life on Death Row often entails frequent lockdowns, strip searches, and handcuffing whenever a person leaves their cell. Throughout the essay, Young […]
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Timothy James Young, currently 53 years old, has been incarcerated for 24 years, and has lived on San Quentin State Prison’s Death Row for 17 of them. Young has maintained his innocence since his arrest, and believes that false testimony against him only arose from a deal with a jail informant. Living on Death Row, […]
New this week from Solitary Watch: This week, Solitary Watch Senior Writers Juan Moreno Haines and Katie Rose Quandt were named winner of the 2023 Media for a Just Society Award in the category of “Media by a Person Who is Incarcerated” for their article titled “San Quentin Is Still Punishing People for Being Sick.” […]
New this week from Solitary Watch: The latest fact sheet in our new series covers Solitary Confinement and Prison Oversight. The fact sheet, by Mirilla Zhu, states: “To ensure the effective implementation of solitary confinement reforms, and to monitor prison conditions more generally, a small but increasing number of states have established prison oversight bodies […]
Today, Solitary Watch is publishing the sixth in a new series of fact sheets offering facts, analysis, and resources on a variety of topics related to solitary confinement in U.S. prisons, jails, and immigrant and juvenile facilities. This fact sheet, written by Mirilla Zhu, is titled “Solitary Confinement & Prison Oversight.” As the fact sheet […]
Previously confidential records from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties confirm reports of extensive abuse against detained immigrants. The reports document ICE’s extensive use of solitary confinement, medical neglect, mistreatment of transgender immigrants, and failure to prevent sexual assault in its facilities. As of July 2023, ICE had […]
The Memory Disorder Unit at Federal Medical Center Devens is the first federal facility built to house incarcerated people with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. According to Timothy Doherty, a senior officer specialist who helps run the unit, approximately 90 percent of the unit’s population “don’t know what they did. Some of them […]
Incarcerated writer Kwaneta Harris writes that after seven years in solitary confinement, “Reading has been my lifeline… after seven years in solitary confinement. With my earplugs jammed in deep—sometimes too deep—I’ve read books, magazines, and newspapers and found respite amid tortuous conditions. That includes no air conditioning, TV, or recreation.” But at the Lane Murray […]
This week’s roundup of news on solitary confinement: Last week, a coalition of House Democrats introduced new legislation that would broadly ban the use of solitary confinement in federal prisons, jails, and immigration detention facilities. If made law, the End Solitary Confinement Act would limit the use of solitary confinement to a maximum of four […]
This morning, Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) and a coalition of progressive House Democrats introduced a sweeping bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, aimed at all but eliminating the use of solitary confinement in federal facilities and offer incentives to states to reduce solitary as well. Advocates release the following press release on the bill. […]
This week’s pick of news and commentary about solitary confinement: Children incarcerated in the former death row unit of Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, an adult maximum security prison, are being held in dangerous conditions as heat indexes in the state reach up to 133 degrees. According to the ACLU of Louisiana, the mostly Black […]
New this week from Solitary Watch: Solitary Watch’s Yen-Tung Lin and Luke Baltay reported on a symposium held in California on July 8-9, where solitary survivors and advocates gathered to “commemorate the tenth anniversary of the historic hunger strike that was organized by men held in the supermax Pelican Bay State Prison” in July 2013, […]
On July 8 and 9, about a hundred solitary survivors, their families, activists, and scholars gathered in southern California to mark the tenth anniversary of one of the most important events in the history of prison activism: the 2013 hunger strike organized by men held in the supermax Pelican Bay State Prison, which quickly spread […]
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New this week from Solitary Watch: In the latest edition of Voices from Solitary, a pair of essays by Michael Bankert describes his search for companionship in confinement and the struggle to survive depths of despair brought about by isolation. Throughout his time in solitary confinement Bankert returns to art and writing as a means […]
Michael Bankert has been sent to solitary confinement numerous times while serving the past 32 years of a life sentence in New Mexico. Despite the lingering fear that he could be sent back to solitary at any time, Bankert continues to write and make art about his experiences and is working to establish a writing […]
This week’s pick of news and commentary about solitary confinement: Texas has one of the highest rates of solitary confinement use in the nation. Of the more than 3,000 Texans in solitary state prisons, 500 of them have been there for over a decade, causing severe damage to their psyche and well-being. “I’m already isolated […]
New from Solitary Watch: Solitary Watch this week announced the recipients of grants awarded by the Ridgeway Reporting Project for Incarcerated Journalists. The grants program, which is funded by the Vital Projects Fund, will support 16 projects that expose prison policies and practices from the inside out, exploring their impact on incarcerated people, the criminal […]
Today we issued the following press release. We are grateful for the generosity of the Vital Projects Fund and of readers like you, who make it possible for us to support the work of incarcerated journalists. We also are grateful for the courage and tenacity of these 16 individuals, who must overcome myriad obstacles and […]
This week’s pick of news and commentary about solitary confinement: In 2021, a woman named Melissa approached the FBI with a complaint against FCI Dublin, a federal prison for women in California. What followed was a year-long probe by the FBI and a bipartisan investigation by the U.S. Senate. According to their report, over the […]
New From Solitary Watch: Solitary Watch Senior Contributing Writer and Editor Juan Moreno Haines was denied parole for the second time last Thursday after serving more than 27 years in the California state prison system. In addition to his work at Solitary Watch, Juan has written for the Los Angeles Times, Oakland Post, LA Progressive, […]
Today, Solitary Watch is publishing the fifth in a new series of fact sheets offering facts, analysis, and resources on a variety of topics related to solitary confinement in U.S. prisons, jails, and immigrant and juvenile facilities. This fact sheet, written by Veronica Riccobene, is titled “Solitary Confinement & the Brain: The Neurological Effects.” As […]
New From Solitary Watch: In the latest edition of our monthly dispatch “The Word from Solitary Watch,” director Jean Casella discusses the new report Calculating Torture, which undertakes the most complete count to date of people in solitary in prisons and jails, and lands on the shocking figure of 122,840. The numbers matter, she writes, […]