Seven Days in Solitary [12/15/13]

by | December 15, 2013

Solitary confinement cellThe 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.

• Alan Prendergast reports in Westword that the Colorado Department of Corrections has directed its wardens to stop sending people with mental illness to solitary confinement. (Look for more on this subject later this week on Solitary Watch.)

• The U.S. Justice Department’s Inspector General has issued a year-end report that describes a “Growing Crisis in the Federal Prison System,” Andrew Cohen reports for the Atlantic.

• Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan, two British nationals, pleaded guilty this week to terrorism-related charges. The two men, who were subject to a highly controversial extradition to the United States last year, had been held in extreme isolation in a supermax prison in Connecticut, and will likely face more solitary confinement in the future.

• As the Los Angeles Times reports, “Federal judges considering California’s request for more time to reduce prison crowding have asked the state in turn to limit how long some mentally ill prisoners spend in solitary confinement.

NBC News online reported in detail on the case of the so-called Dallas 6, a group of Pennsylvania’s who were charged with rioting after staging what they say was a peaceful protest in their solitary confinement unit to draw attention to conditions there. After hearing several motions, a federal court set a trial date in January.

• A BBC News piece asks: Are California’s prison isolation units torture?

• “Federal prison officials have begun transferring mentally ill inmates from the Supermax prison in Florence to a prison in Atlanta following a lawsuit that  accuses guards of ignoring severe symptoms,” reports the Denver Post. The Bureau of Prisons says it may eventually transfer about 30 men.


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