Seven Days in Solitary [4/26/2015]

by | April 26, 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.

• Three women held at Kernes County Residential Center have sued Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as the GEO Group, the corporation that runs the detention center. The women allege that they were placed in solitary confinement along with their children in retaliation for going on hunger strike.

• A 2012 video just published by the New Yorker documents the guard abuse experienced by Kalief Browder, a teenager then held at Rikers’s Central Punitive Segregation Unit. Browder spent about a total of about two years in solitary confinement at the jail before the charges against him were dropped.

• More than 100 advocates gathered in Albany to lobby for the passage of an anti-solitary bill currently moving through the state’s legislature. The bill would prohibit the placement of certain populations in isolation and set a 15-day limit for all others. State-wide actions to end solitary also occurred in California.

• The Boston Globe published an article on Florence ADX, the federal supermax prison where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may serve a life sentence. “Nobody can go through that experience without being scarred,” said Ray Luv Levasseur, who served about five years at ADX. “It deadens you emotionally. You have to withdraw like a turtle into a shell.”

• US Representative Chaka Fattah reintroduced the Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment (REDEEM) Act into the House. The bill would prohibit the placement of children in solitary confinement except in extreme cirumstances.

• Solitary Watch’s Aviva Stahl published an article about Ashley Jean Arnold, a trans women who committed suicide in a Virginia federal prison in February. Last summer, Arnold spent 30 days in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) after various feminine items – including bras, panties, makeup items, etc – were found in her cell.

• The US Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General published a report on the Reeves County Detention Complex, called “the world’s largest for-profit prison.” In 2009, an individual with epilepsy died in his isolation cell, sparking a riot; prison staff allegedly use solitary to punish those who complain or organize against their confinement.


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