Seven Days in Solitary [2/1/2014]
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 Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has filed as lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC), after it failed to provide documents or status updates in relation to two records requests. One of the requests regarded a work group created by the DOC’s secretary to review its use of solitary confinement.
• A settlement reached between the Justice Department and the Muscogee County Jail will substantially reform the treatment of those with mental illness. According to a local outlet, the agreement “restricts the use of solitary confinement for prisoners with serious mental illness and limits the use of solitary confinement after 14 days.”
• The Bureau of Prisons finalized the rules that govern its Communication Management Units, the units which have been nicknamed “Guantanamo North” by civil liberties advocates and come under scrutiny for holding a majority-Muslim population in conditions of social isolation. According to The Marshall Project, “prisoner advocates claim the new rules impose even stricter limits on contact without providing a legitimate way for inmates to appeal being placed under such restrictions.”
• The San Francisco Bay Chronicle published an inside account of solitary confinement entitled, “What would compel a man to try to cut his own face off?”
• The American Institute of Architects has rejected a proposed amendment to its ethics code, which would have prohibited AIA members from designing spaces “intended for execution or for torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including prolonged solitary confinement.” Architecture News Daily reported that the main controversy around the amendment was not around content but enforceability.
• The Guardian published an excerpt of Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, in which “the campaigning American lawyer [Stevenson] tells how he fought for Ian Manuel, a 13-year-old black youth locked up in solitary confinement for 18 years.”
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