Seven Days in Solitary [5/19/13]

solitaryThe 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.

•  Coverage of Guantanamo was heavy again throughout the past week as the hunger strike reached its 100th day. An estimated 102 of the 166 detainee are refusing food, and some 30 are being subjected to force-feeding in violation of international human rights standards.

•  New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm continues his crusade to “end torture in New York” with an op-ed in the Queens Times-Ledger.

•  A (somewhat overly sanguine) CBS News piece reported on the federal government’s internal plan to review its use of solitary confinement, and noted reductions that have taken place thus far in a handful of states.

•  Mashable reports that hacker Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer has been placed in solitary confinement in his minimum security federal prison to prevent him tweeting and posting phone calls to his soundcloud.

• As a guest column in the Orlando Sun-Sentinal notes, the Youth in Solitary Confinement Reduction Act failed to make progress in the current legislative session. It’s sponsor has vowed to reintroduce it in the next session, as awareness of children held in solitary grows in Florida and around the country.

•  An op-ed and letter to the editor in the Albany Times-Union argue that solitary confinement as practiced in New York is both brutal and futile. The pieces respond to an article in the Times Union on the effects of solitary, and a subsequent op-ed by the local corrections officers’ union supporting the practice.

• The New York Times reports that after years of litigation and negotiation, a federal judge has “approved a settlement meant to guarantee alternatives to segregation for mentally ill inmates in Massachusetts prisons.”

Jean Casella and James Ridgeway

James Ridgeway (1936-2021) was the founder and co-director of Solitary Watch. An investigative journalist for over 60 years, he served as Washington Correspondent for the Village Voice and Mother Jones, reporting domestically on subjects ranging from electoral politics to corporate malfeasance to the rise of the racist far-right, and abroad from Central America, Northern Ireland, Eastern Europe, Haiti, and the former Yugoslavia. Earlier, he wrote for The New Republic and Ramparts, and his work appeared in dozens of other publications. He was the co-director of two films and author of 20 books, including a forthcoming posthumous edition of his groundbreaking 1991 work on the far right, Blood in the Face. Jean Casella is the director of Solitary Watch. She has also published work in The Guardian, The Nation, and Mother Jones, and is co-editor of the book Hell Is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement. She has received a Soros Justice Media Fellowship and an Alicia Patterson Fellowship. She tweets @solitarywatch.

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