Seven Days in Solitary [11/16/2014]

by | November 16, 2014

Solitary confinement news roundup: 7 Days in SolitaryThe 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.

•  Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus wrote about the case of 22-year-old Reginald Latson, a young Black man diagnosed with autism who was incarcerated after a confrontation with a police officer.  In a letter to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe , his lawyers wrote, “In effect [Reginald] spends 24 hours a day locked in a segregation cell with minimal human contact for the ‘crime’ of being autistic. Absent intervention, there is every reason to think he will remain there until the opportunity for effective treatment has been lost.”

•  In a study published in Prison Journal, a Michigan State University criminologist concluded that “solitary confinement does not make supermax prison inmates more likely to reoffend.”

•  New York’s legislative Assembly committees on correction and mental health held joint hearings on the mental health care incarcerated people receive on the inside. Alicia Barazza, whose 21-year-old son committed suicide in solitary confinement at Fishkill state prison two weeks ago, was among those who testified.

•  In an editorial, the News & Observer called for the North Carolina General Assembly to investigate conditions in the state’s prisons, especially the placement of those with mental illness in solitary confinement.

•  The US government went before the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva as part of a periodic review to determine its compliance with international human rights standards. The committee has repeatedly cited concerns about the extensive use of prolonged solitary confinement in prisons and jails across the United States.

•  The Lexington Clipper-Herald published an in-depth investigation into the Special Management Unit at the Nebraska state prison in Tecumseh. The paper was given access to tour the unit, which has 192 single-occupancy cells for individuals on “restricted housing.”

•  An individual incarcerated at an Arkansas maximum-security prison has committed suicide.   According to the state’s Department of Corrections, 38-year-old Danny Cromeans used a bedsheet to hang himself in his cell.

•  The wife of a former Tamms Correctional Center officer has begun petitioning door-to-door for the prison’s re-opening.  Tamms was shuttered about two years ago after an extensive campaign which highlighted the extreme conditions of solitary confinement endured by people on the inside.

•  A lawsuit field against South Carolina’s Department of Corrections, on behalf of those incarcerated with mental illness, is now in mediation. A judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in January of this year, commenting, “Over 70,000 cases of every imaginable sort have come to this court over the years, this case, far above all others, is the most troubling. People were in solitary confinement not only for a day, around the clock, day or week but sometimes for years.”


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