Seven Days in Solitary [12/29/13]
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 Denver Post publishes an editorial in support of providing people who are held in administrative segregation at the Colorado State Penitentiary with outdoor exercise. Noting that a lawsuit has been filed maintaining “that prisoners spend 23 hours in cells about 80 square feet and that the exercise room is a cell only slightly larger,” the story states that Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Rick Raemisch “is now considering three options to alleviate the exercise problem at the CSP, according to a Denver Post article last week. We’re glad to see it.”
• The Denver Channel reports on Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Rick Raemisch’s stated plans for change to the state’s prison system, which include increased transparency and limiting the use of solitary confinement. Quoting Raemisch, the story says “A year ago we had… 140 major mentally ill individuals in administrative segregation. Today we have 8 and we’re working on those 8. We are down from about slightly over 7 percent of the population being in administrative segregation to down to 3.9 percent.”
• Between the Lines reports on a recent speech delivered by Hope Metcalf, Director of the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School, on the cruelty of solitary confinement as practiced in U.S. prisons. Underscoring the need for change in the use of the practice, Metcalf states, “There may be people who are violent and who are also mentally ill, and they need to be dealt with, but dealt with in a way that actually works.”
• Democracy Now! hosts a round-table discussion on the increasing number of aging political prisoners in the U.S., many of whom suffer from deteriorating health and are held in isolation, seeking “release, clemency or a pardon. In some cases, they are simply asking to be released into general population after decades of solitary confinement. Many have poorly treated diseases such as diabetes, while at least one has terminal cancer.”
• BBC News airs a Newsnight segment on the California prison hunger strike and the lives of people held inside Security Housing Units (SHUs) in prisons throughout the state.
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