Seven Days in Solitary [12/21/2014]
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 Marshall Project published an article about prisoners dying of hypothermia. Those in solitary confinement are often uniquely at risk because they are “provided with limited clothing and blankets as a precaution against suicide.”
• In July 2013, Nikko Jenkins killed four Omaha residents within 10 days of his release from prison – directly from solitary confinement. According to a recently released report. Jenkins wrote to psychologists, psychiatrists, the director of prisons, and even Governor Dave Heinemann before his release, pleading to be committed to the state psychiatric hospital or Lincoln Correctional Center. The Department of Correctional Services Special Investigation Committee was established after the murders; the 62-page report also calls for reforms and the firing of several correctional officials.
• New Jersey’s Star Ledger published an opinion piece entitled, “Research shows no good comes of prolonged solitary confinement.”
• Federal prosecutors announced plans to join an ongoing lawsuit against New York City over the abusive treatment of adolescents on Rikers Island, including the overuse of solitary confinement. Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York said, “While the United States had hoped to reach a speedy resolution with the city on these critical issues,”
• Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced that Rikers Island will no longer hold juveniles in solitary confinement.
• Just days before DeBlasio’s announcement, The New York Times published an Op-ed calling for an end to solitary confinement for juveniles. And the New York Advisory Committee on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights published a report entitled, “The Solitary Confinement of Youth in New York: A Civil Rights Violation.”
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