Seven Days in Solitary [10/5/2014]
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.
• Eighth Amendment attorney Martin Garbus published an Op-ed with the LA Times about cruel and unusual punishment in prisons and jails.
• About thirteen individuals incarcerated by the state of Vermont are being held in solitary confinement in an Arizona prison, after they refused to enter their cells and destroyed prison property. Vermont “outsources” prisoners to the Corrections Corporation of America due to a lack of beds in-state; individuals sent out of state are separated from the local prison population and face very restrictive conditions of movement.
• The mental health manager at the Spokane County Jail filed a court declaration in connection with an ongoing class action lawsuit, in which she was sharply critical of conditions on the inside. She explains, “We have no other place for [prisoners with mental illness]… unfortunately, solitary confinement is not therapeutic and exacerbates their symptoms.”
• The Department of Justice (DOJ) has opened an investigation into the death of Michael Anthony Kerr, a 54-year-old with a history of mental illness who passed away from dehydration after being held in solitary confinement in a North Carolina prison for 35 days.
• The DOJ also opened an investigation into where can i purchase phentermine pills another case, in Harris County, in which a 24-year-old was allegedly held in solitary confinement for as long as two months “amid piles of excrement, rotting trash and swarms of insects.”
• Andrew Cohen published a response to Graeme Wood’s recent, controversial article on how the problem of gangs in California’s Pelican State Prison. Cohen focuses extensively on how Wood covered the issue of solitary confinement in his piece.
• Writing in The New Yorker, Jennifer Gonnerman explores the case of Kalief Browder, who spent about three years at Rikers after being falsely accused of stealing a backpack; of that time, about seventeen months were spent in solitary confinement.
• An administrative judge has recommended the firing of six New York City correctional officers for a 2012 beating on Rikers Island. Robert Hinton, 27, was left with a broken nose, fractured back and other injuries after he was assaulted by guards on a now-closed solitary confinement unit for individuals with mental illness.
• A federal judge has found that Maricopa County’s jails continue to provide inadequate medical and mental health care to those incarcerated, and ordered that the jail remain under federal oversight. According the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), individuals with mental illness held in the jail have been placed in solitary confinement and routinely denied treatment.
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