Seven Days in Solitary [12/14/2014]
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.
• According to a lawsuit filed in federal court last week, solitary confinement conditions inside one New Mexico county jail were so inhumane they drove one woman with a history of mental illness to suicide. According to court documents, Raynbow Gignilliat, 39, was kept in isolation without treatment even after “stripping naked, smearing feces and urine on herself and her solitary cell, hallucinating and screaming for hours during the day and night.”
• Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections is planning to make significant changes to its disciplinary code, according to a memo obtained by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. The memo also specifies, “Long-term segregation placements have been shown to be ineffective in terms of discipline and do not serve our corrective or rehabilitative goals.”
• The New York Daily News published an article entitled, “Prisoner advocates slam plan to create Enhanced Supervision Unit for Rikers’ most dangerous inmates.” The plan, which would allow people to be kept in isolation for 17 hours a day, has yet to be approved by the Board of Corrections.
• Researchers at the 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual meeting hosted Angola 3 member Robert King and discussed the psychological and physical impacts of solitary confinement.
• Susan Greene of The Colorado Independent published a profile of Unique Taylor, a trangender woman held in solitary confinement at the federal supermax facility, Florence ADX.
• CounterPunch ran an article by a member of California Families Against Solitary Confinement, entitled “An End to Solitary is Long Overdue.”
• This week a trial will begin for the former Rikers guard who allegedly ignored the medical needs of a prisoner who died in a solitary confinement cell after swallowing a ball of highly toxic soap. Terrence Pendergrass is facing one count of deprivation of rights under color of color.
• The Providence Journal published a long investigation into the treatment of people with illness inside the state’s prison system, especially focusing on the use of extended isolation.
• After a string of inmate deaths in the state, including several in solitary confinement, the US Department of Justice is gathering information and considering an investigation into Florida’s Department of Corrections.
• On Human Rights Day, LGBT and immigrant rights groups called for an end to the placement of transgender women in male detention facilities. Many trans women are placed in isolation while in immigration detention facilities, allegedly to keep them safe from sexual violence.
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