Seven Days in Solitary [4.27.13]
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.
• The Queens Chronicle reports on efforts by activists and New York City Council Members to increase transparency and and place stricter limits on the use of solitary confinement in New York City’s jails.
• Susan Greene, in the Colorado Independent, continues her reporting on how years of solitary confinement may have affected Evan Ebel, prime suspect in the killing of Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements.
• Albany Times Union reports on the widespread use of solitary confinement on people with mental illness in New York State. The damage caused by solitary is illustrated in the story of the formerly incarcerated Jeff Rockefeller, who to this day struggles with uncontrollable crying, difficulty sleeping and nightmares.
• Human Rights Watch reports that 93 of the 166 detainees have joined the hunger strike at Guantanamo.
• The Houston Chronicle reports on two bills currently under consideration by the Texas Legislature (House Bill 1266 and Senate Bill 1003) that would call for an examination of the state’s use of solitary confinement in order to identify feasible alternatives the practice. In the article, Texas death row exonoree Anthony Graves provides a powerful account of the tortuous conditions to which he was subjected in his over 18 years of administrative segregation.
• The Sidney Hillman Foundation announces Shane Bauer as a a 2013 Hillman Prizes recipient for his article “No Way Out: A Special Report on Solitary Confinement from Former Hostage Shane Bauer.” The prize is awarded to “journalists whose work highlights important social and economic issues and helps bring about change for the better.”
• The ACLU reports on a series of proposed bills that would restrict the use solitary confinement on youth in Texas. The story also details the state’s “failure to take into account age when determining if a kid should be placed in solitary and a disregard for the mental-health of children held in isolation.”
• KUT News reports on the abusive use of solitary confinement on youth in Texas, stating “juvenile offenders in Texas were placed in solitary confinement 36,820 times last year.”
• Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz speaks out against the use of solitary confinement on youth, calling for support of a proposed bill in California (SB 61) that would “lead the way nationally in increasing access to rehabilitation and reducing harm for our young people.”
• Prisoners rights group NCTT-Cor-SHU alleges that, in a blatant disregard of California state policies, administrators at Corcoron SHU instructed staff to cease all medical treatment of hunger strikers at the facility.
• Angola 3 News features an interview with Teresa Shoats, daughter of Russell Maroon Shoats, who has spent 28 of the last 30 years in solitary confinement in Pennsylvania prisons, and is now the subject of an activist campaign to win his release from isolation.
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I am very glad to see so many articles and attention to Solitary Confinement situations being reviewed and changed and also attention regarding juvenile’s in solitary and the need to change that.