Seven Days in Solitary [3/9/14]

by | March 9, 2014

Solitary confinement news roundupThe 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.

• Gawker published a letter from Ray Jasper, who is scheduled to be put to death by the state of Texas on March 19.  With regards to solitary confinement he writes, “If a prisoner refuses to work and be a slave, they will do their time in isolation as a punishment. You have thousands of people with a lot of prison time that have no choice but to make money for the government or live in isolation. The affects of prison isolation literally drive people crazy. Who can be isolated from human contact and not lose their mind?”

• Amnesty International released a videotaped statement from Leontine (“Teenie”) Rogers, whose husband Brent Miller was killed at Angola prison in April 1972.  Two members of the “Angola 3” – Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox – were later convicted of the murder, and subsequently endured decades in solitary confinement. Woodfox remains locked up in isolation today, and in the video Rogers pleads for his release. “I am speaking out now because I don’t want another innocent man to die in prison.”

• The ACLU of Montana, on behalf of Disability Rights Montana, issued a letter to the Department of Corrections and Department of Public Heath and Human Services outlining how the state has failed people will mental illnesses .  A year-long investigation into the conditions at Montana State Prison revealed that “prisoners with mental illness are routinely subjected to months or years of solitary confinement and ‘behavior modification plans’ that deprive them of clothing, working toilets, bedding and proper food.”

• According to The Denver Post, at least nine federal prison guards on staff in Florence, Colorado have committed suicide since 1994.

• New York Times columnist David Brooks published an Op-ed naming solitary confinement as a form of torture – a permitted “social pain” as harmful as the “physical pain” abuses prohibited by law.  He writes, “when you put people in prison, you are imposing pain on them. But that doesn’t mean you have to gouge out the nourishment that humans need for health, which is social, emotional and relational.”

• In an interview on Democracy Now, Angela Davis argued that the fight to abolish solitary confinement must be part of a broader struggle to abolish prisons:  “One can look at solitary confinement as a microcosm of the whole system, solitary confinement within a prison. The prison is solitary confinement within the society. And how can one expect to create any kind of rehabilitation, which unfortunately prisons still claim that they rehabilitate, in the context of the kind of isolation that happens in these institutions?”

• Former Solitary Watch reporter Katie Rose Quandt appeared on KTNF radio to discuss her work on solitary confinement for Mother Jones.

• Medium, in conjunction with the Center for Investigative Reporting, published a series of pieces about teens in solitary confinement on Riker’s Island: an article that explores why young people are locked up alone in the NYC’s jails; an animated video that tells the story of young person who spent almost a year in isolation; and a former guard’s photos of life in “the box”.

• The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange inaugurated a series on juvenile solitary confinement with an article outlining how states across the nation place young people in isolation, which was followed by a piece on teens in solitary confinement in New Jersey.

• NPR hosted a 40-minute segment on solitary confinement. Guests included Benjamin Wallace-Wells, author of a recent New York Magazine article about the origins of the California hunger strike, as well as Professor Craig Haney, who has been studying the psychological impact of solitary confinement for over 30 years.


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1 comment

  • Please stop solitary confinement it is torture on any human .even more so juveniles.there are only 2 juveniles in solitary in arizona male and female both 15 yrs old .. not good …The male is my son ….

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