Fourteen Days in Solitary [7/7/13]

solitary_confinement_cell_auschwitz_13The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past two weeks that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts.

•  In response to a federal lawsuit on behalf of prisoners held in solitary, the state of North Carolina filed a motion claiming that “prison guards used ‘minimal forc’ in altercations with handcuffed inmates that left several with broken bones and one confined to a wheelchair,” reports the Associated Press.

•  The Indiana Department of Corrections announced that it “will add staff and increase treatment programs for seriously mentally ill inmates at a new  facility” to open next year, according to an article in the Indianapolis Star. The move comes in response to an ACLU lawsuit and subsequent federal court ruling. The court found that “‘mentally ill prisoners within the IDOC segregation units are not receiving adequate mental health care in terms of scope, intensity and duration’ and ordered the department to devise a plan to correct the shortcomings.”

•   Psychiatrist and longtime critic of solitary confinement Terry Kupers appeared on KPFA’s “Against the Grain” to discuss “What Prisons Say About Us.”

•  American Public Media’s “The Story” covered advocates’ effort to convince architects not to “design spaces intended for execution or for torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including prolonged solitary confinement.”

•  California corrections officers sought standing in the current lawsuit filed on behalf of men held is solitary in Pelican Bay State Prison. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the prison guards’ union argues that limiting isolation “jeopardizes the security of the institution and [their] membership,” and would “lead to increased violence throughout prisons in California.”

•  After conducting a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind survey, Hope Metcalf and a team from Yale Law School published “Administrative Segregation, Degrees of Isolation, and Incarceration: A National Overview of State and Federal Correctional Policies.”

•  The Department of Defense released a report on the suicide of Adnan Latif, who died in solitary confinement at Guantanamo last fall. The report was analyzed in detail by Jeff Kaye on Firedoglake.

•  A bill placing restrictions on the use of solitary confinement in California youth facilities passed a committee vote in the California Assembly, reports bill sponsor Senator Leland Yee.

•   A lawsuit asserts that men held in solitary in a prison in St. Louis were “forced to fight for the amusement of the guards,” according to a CBS News report.

•  According to Courthouse News Service, “Two teenagers held for months in isolation, under close, constant watch and without educational materials or medical treatment, can pursue negligence claims, a federal judge ruled.”

•  The father of a 19-year-old jailed for threats made on Facebook told NPR that his son has been beaten in prison, and has “been put in solitary confinement, nude, for days on end because he’s depressed.”

•  Legislators in Massachusetts held a briefing  after introducing a bill that would limit the use of disciplinary segregation” to 15 days, according to a commentary by Jean Trounstine in Boston Magazine.

•  A group of prisoners in held in isolation on Louisiana’s death row filed a lawsuit challenging heat conditions as cruel and unusual; the state countered their claims, asserting that the temperature on death row could not have exceeded 120 degrees, the Baton-Rouge Advocate reports.

•  The force-feedings of detainees on hunger strike will be synchronized with the fasting for Ramadan, according to the Miami Herald.

•  Updates on the California prison hunger strike, set to begin tomorrow, will appear on the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity site as well as on Solitary Watch.


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