Seven Days in Solitary [5/26/13]

by | May 26, 2013

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.

•  According to the tally kept by the Miami Herald, 103 of the 166 men held captive at Guantanamo are now on hunger strike, with 34 being force-fed and 5 hospitalized.  President Obama again referenced the prison camp in his speech on national security on Thursday, but appears to have taken no concrete action.

• The Vancouver Sun reports that in Canada, a Cree woman who spent more than three years in solitary confinement in federal prisons has won a lawsuit filed on her behalf by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, claiming she was treated “illegally and inhumanely.”

•  The Charlotte Herald reports that the state Senate in North Carolina has rolled out a new budget eliminating a $2.89 million contract with North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services. In a recent post, Solitary Watch covers a federal lawsuit filed by the legal advocates on behalf of eight people held in solitary at Central Prison.

•  Emptywheel reports that the legal counsel of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, dubbed the first “underwear bomber,” is appealing his conviction and sentence, arguing that “solitary confinement made him increasingly incompetent to represent himself as time wore on.”

•  An opinion piece by state legislator Leland Yee in U-T San Diego argues against the use of solitary confinement on kids, stating that “archaic and damaging punishments for trivial offenses will only work to cement anti-social behavior and push children away from rehabilitation.” Yee has introduced legislation that would severely curtail the practice.

•  The Texas Tribune reports that the Texas House tentatively approved SB1003, a bill that would require the Criminal Justice Legislative Oversight Committee to appoint an independent party to review solitary confinement conditions in Texas prisons and juvenile detention facilities. In the same week, according to the AP, the Texas Senate approved a bill that includes a plan to study the use of solitary confinement on children in county juvenile jails.

•  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee has adopted a proposal that would better define and limit the use of solitary confinement on immigrant detainees by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Lisa Dawson

LISA DAWSON served as an assistant editor, social media manager, and contributor at Solitary Watch. She continues to support prisoners and their family members who need help navigating re-entry. She is on Twitter @endsolitary.

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