Seven Days in Solitary [4/12/2015]
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.
• A student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison wrote a piece for the Huffington Post calling for the end of youth solitary in prisons across the country. A bill to end the practice of putting children in solitary confinement is being considered in the California legislature.
• A new report highlights the conditions of confinement endured by men locked up in a high-security unit at the Oregon State Penitentiary. The Oregonian reports, “most are in their cells for 23 hours a day and few regularly shower or have a chance for recreation even though both are required under state Department of Corrections policies.”
• The Washington Post published an editorial calling for the federal government to overhaul its use of solitary confinement. “The federal government should be leading the effort to end the abuse of isolating prisoners from meaningful social interaction and other basic needs. Instead, the federal system’s practices are clearly contributing to the morally inexcusable overuse of prisoner isolation.”
• The New York Times published an in-depth article about Michael Megginson, a 25-year-old man who deteriorated psychologically after being incarcerated on Rikers Island, “becoming one of the most violent inmates on the island.” He spent 127 days in solitary confinement in 2013.
• A 23-year-old trans man, Ky Peterson, was placed in protective custody – a form of isolated confinement – the day before an article about him was set to be published. Peterson is serving a 20-year sentence for killing his alleged rapist.
• An advisor council of ACLU of Nebraska has called on the legislature to enact a series of pending prison reform bills, including legislation designed to ensure the “appropriate” use of segregation. “Meaningful policy reform, like the initial effort underway in the Nebraska Legislature is the most efficient, most certain and least expensive route to cure constitutional violations in the prison system and mitigate state liability.”
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