Seven Days in Solitary [5/24/2015]

by | May 24, 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.

• The UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Crime Justice has revised its international standards for the treatment of prisoners. The rules call for solitary confinement to be limited to a maximum of 15 days (covered by CTV and others).

• A former employee of the GEO Group – who served as a guard at the Adelanto Detention Center – has come forward stating that there are a host of serious issues in the way the site is run, including the overuse of solitary confinement. According to the Huffington Post, “two Muslim men were put into solitary confinement for quietly saying their daily prayers.”

• Illinois’ Tamms prison is likely to remained closed, at least for now. A local paper, the Herald & Review, explores the issue in full.

• The New Jersey Senate passed legislation restricting when children can be placed in solitary and for how long, and increasing the age at which children can be moved into adult court. The bill will now be considered by the Assembly.

• In the wake of the verdict of the Tsarnaev case, two staff members at the Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts published a letter in The Boston Globe examining the use of solitary confinement across the state.

• An Algerian-born Irish man has been spared extradition to the United States, where he was due to face trial for charges. Justice Aileen Donnelly ruled that Alif Charaf Damache, 50, could be subject to “inhuman and degrading treatment” if he were convicted and incarcerated at ADX Florence, the federal supermax.

• Contra Costa County has announced that it will no longer place children who are incarcerated at Juvenile Hall in solitary confinement as punishment. Young people will only be placed in isolation for their safety or the safety of others, and only for several hours at a time.

• The US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the former warden of Michigan’s prison for women can be sued for knowingly placing a woman with disabilities inside a segregation cell that was not equipped to accommodate her. Martinique Stoudemire, who had both legs amputated while incarcerated, was quarantined in the segregation block in 2006 after her stump became infected; during her time in isolation she had to change her own dressings, crawl from her bed to the toilet, and urinate into a bowl.

• The Las Vegas Review-Journal covered the story of Michael Sanzo, who “was forced to smash out his teeth by punching himself in the face, other macabre means” after prison guards allegedly ignored his cries for help. This occurred during Sanzo’s eight month stay in solitary confinement at High Desert State Prison near Indian Springs.


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