Seven Days in Solitary [11/09/2014]
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.
• The Cap Times published a feature on solitary confinement in Dane County jails, entitled “Boxed in: Fighting for changes, Sheriff Dave Mahoney calls his own jail ‘inhumane.’”
• The LA Times editorial board took a strong stance against the use of solitary confinement on death row.
• The University of North Carolina School of Law Immigration/Human Rights Clinic released its latest report, “Solitary Confinement as Torture.” (Covered by the Fayettevile Observer and others).
• A 21-year-old man with a history of illness committed suicide in Fishkill state prison in upstate New York. Benjamin Van Zandt had been placed in the SHU for fighting with another individual two days prior; he had originally been incarcerated on an arson conviction.
• The trial of the Dallas 6 is scheduled to begin this week. The six men, all currently held in solitary confinement in a Pennsylvania prison, allege they were falsely charged with riot –a felony – as punishment for endeavoring to publicize and fight guard abuse on the inside. (Covered by Truth-Out).
• At least 200 individuals held at the Tacoma Detention Center in Washington have gone on hunger strike, the third such strike in recent years. Previously, hunger strike participants have placed in solitary confinement and threatened with force-feeding.
• The family of a man who committed suicide in solitary confinement in a Pennsylvania jail has voluntarily withdrawn from a civil lawsuit brought against Armstrong County, which alleged wrongful death. An attorney for the family declined to say whether a financial settlement had been reached.
• Formerly incarcerated individuals, local activists, and others gathered in front of Rikers Island to call for reforms, including the end of the use of solitary confinement for all those held at the jail. One participant stressed, that “at least two inmate who were incarcerated here at Rikers Island died while they were in solitary confinement.”
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