For the next two weeks, Solitary Watch will be on hiatus while my colleague Aviva Stahl and I take a reporting trip to the United Kingdom.
While there, we will be speaking with officials and inspectors of Her Majesty’s Prison Service, as well as prison reform advocates, scholars, and currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. We also hope to visit several prisons. Our particular aim is to investigate alternatives to the widespread use of long-term solitary confinement, practiced in the United States but virtually nowhere else in the Western industrialized world.
If time allows, we’ll also take a look at some of the icons of the British carceral state, including the Tower of London, where enemies of the crown were once held in extreme isolation, and Pentonville Prison, which has been in operation since 1842 and was built on the model of the U.S.’s notorious prototype of solitary confinement, Eastern State Penitentiary.