Seven Days in Solitary [5/3/15]

by | May 3, 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 64-year old man was found dead in his cell at San Quentin Prison. He had spent 14 years on California’s death row where 752 people still remain.

• A crisis intervention specialist recounts her experience of meeting with a man incarcerated in a California supermax prison and describes the on-going crisis of mental health care in the correctional system.

• Raymond Luc Levasseur tells WBUR about “walking into a tomb,” his experience of five years in ADX, the federal supermax in Colorado, where Dzokhar Tsarnaev would serve a life sentence if spared the death penalty

• Three guards were indicted on charges including involuntary manslaughter and civil rights violations in the 2009 death of a young patient with schizophrenia at Bridgewater State Hospital. The case was reinvestigated by a special prosecutor after revelations that led to the firing of the guards and the resignation of the Massachusetts state Corrections Commissioner.

• Shocking surveillance video showed a man held at a Louisiana parish jail thrown to the ground by a guard, attacked by a dog while on the ground, and then stomped and kicked by the guard. Prison officials fired the guard two years after the incident, while the third federal investigation in three years into the parish is underway.

• According to a recent report, the number of people with mental illness in US prisons and jails is ten times the number of patients in state psychiatric hospitals.

• Florida’s state House ended its legislative session early, ending the possibility of prison reform legislation passing this session. State Senators had been pushing for an independent commission against a backdrop of widespread reports of abuse, including the arrest of two prison guards and one former prison worker accused of being KKK members and of plotting to kill a formerly incarcerated man.

•  A man held in solitary confinement in Pelican Bay for five years describes meeting the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, whose review of solitary confinement led to his conclusion that more than 15 days in solitary constituted torture.

• A survivor of 2,054 days in solitary confinement describes the HALT Solitary Confinement Act, a bill introduced in the NYS legislature, as the best hope for the 4,500 people held in solitary in New York.

• New York City council members introduced 10 bills to increase transparency and strengthen the rights of people held on Rikers Island and in other city jails, including reporting on the controversial Enhanced Security Housing (ESH) units.

• One man has been held in administrative segregation in Texas for thirty years.

• Locked [In] depicts the horrors of youth living in solitary confinement, accompanied by the poetry of Gabriel Cortez.


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