Seven Days in Solitary [6/29/14]

by | June 29, 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.

• On the Pacifica Evening News, religious leaders, families of people in prison, and state prison officials went on air to discuss the issue of solitary confinement.

• Writing for Pacific Standard Magazine, Jessica Pishko asks, “Are we approaching the end of solitary confinement?”

• Solitary Watch contributor Aviva Stahl covered a recent demonstration by the New-York based Jails Action Coalition, calling for justice for a man who died after spending seven days in isolation at Rikers without access to life-saving medication. Bradley Ballard’s death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, but thus far correction officers have been fired or indicted.

• About a dozen members of a Unitarian Universalist Congregation held a protest against solitary confinement outside of the Nassau County Correctional Facility.  Since 2010, five prisoners have committed suicide at the jail.

• According to the NY Daily News, of the “11 suicides in New York City jails over the past five years show that in at least nine cases, safeguards designed to prevent inmates from harming themselves weren’t followed.”  One of the inmates hung himself in solitary confinement after telling correctional officers he was suicidal. The documents were uncovered by the AP.

• The NY Daily News reports that people with mental illness at Rikers Island often face long-delays in accessing psychiatric treatment, which may lead to increased violence at the jail.  In May, one inmate was attacked by rival gang members, both of whom owed time in “the box” but were deemed mentally ill and awaiting treatment.

•  Two writers posted commentaries about solitary confinement on The Huffington Post, each beginning with the portrayal of isolation on the hit-television show Orange is the New Black (here and here).

•  The Center for Investigative Reporting published a new documentary, “Alone,” about teens held in solitary confinement.

• Jane Doe, the 16-year-old transgender girl who was held in solitary confinement in both men and women’s adult facilities despite not facing any criminal charges, has been moved to a psychiatric center for children.

A friend of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects is being held in solitary confinement in a Plymouth County jail.  Khairullozhon Matanov is being charged with interfering into the ongoing investigation into the attack.


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