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 American Civil Liberties Union and the Texas Civil Rights Project released a report on the use of the solitary confinement in the state’s prisons. According to the report, Texas holds about 6,000 people in solitary confinement, for an average duration of four years.
• The Washington Post released an editorial citing the report and condemning the use of solitary confinement in the state.
• New York’s Rikers Island will open up a unit for transgender women this week. Transgender women on Rikers – like in many prisons and jails across the country – are often placed in voluntary or involuntary protective custody (isolation) due to the violence or perceived threat they face in general population.
• According to the Sauk Valley News, the first prisoners could start arriving at AUSP Thomson as early as mid-March. “About 200 minimum-security inmates” will be selected to assist in Thomson’s activation, set to become the BOP’s second supermax facility.
• WNYC aired an episode focusing on New York’s mental health crisis and the use of solitary confinement in the state’s prisons. The story focuses on Sedlis Dowdly, “a diagnosed schizophrenic” who spent nine years in solitary confinement, but is due to be released in five.
• Delaware will consider legislation that would limit the amount of time an individual can be placed in solitary confinement from three months to four weeks. According to Delaware State News, the bill “would also prohibit solitary placement that aims to address disciplinary concerns to no more than 15 consecutive days and none for juveniles or those with mental illnesses.”
• Fusion released an in-depth investigation into the privatized immigration detention system. According to the article, “these prisons [detention facilities] hold nearly twice the number of inmates in solitary confinement as other federal facilities… Inmates are allegedly placed in solitary confinement for complaining about food, medical care or filing grievances.”
• Albert Woodfox, the last imprisoned member of the Angola 3, is one step closer to release. The US Appeals Court denied a request from Louisiana’s Attorney General for a full review of a decision made by a three-judge panel, which in November overturned Woodfox’s conviction for a 1972 murder. Woodfox has been held in isolation for more than 40 years.
• A federal judge in California has ordered the state to cease segregating prisoners with disabilities by placing them in solitary confinement. Judge Claudia Wilken said that the practice violated the Americans with Disabilities Act in addition to several court orders.