Seven Days in Solitary [7/19/2015]
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 Advocate continued its coverage of the case of Ky Peterson, a 23-year-old trans man held in solitary confinement in an all-female facility in Georgia. Meanwhile, a 22-year-old trans woman arrested on allegations of engaging in sex work is being held in a segregated cell in Iowa.
• According to an article in the LA Times, “State prisons are relying less on solitary confinement as punishment.” Another outlet focused on the ongoing changes occurring in Kentucky.
• The Intercept published a piece entitled, “How racist is solitary confinement?” According to data recently released by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, black people are 2.52 times more likely than white people to be placed in isolation in the NYC jail system.
• The Daily News reported that this had been the “bloodiest year behind bars” at Rikers in “more than a decade,” which some current and former staff at the prison blame on the reduced number of people placed in solitary confinement. Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte has asked the city’s Board of Corrections to roll back some of limits that were recently placed on the use of isolation.
• Babar Ahmad, who unsuccessfully fought his extradition to the United States several years ago on the grounds that the conditions of confinement would violate his human rights, has served his sentence and returned home to the UK. “Eleven years of solitary confinement and isolation in ten different prisons has been an experience too profound to sum up in a few words here and now,” he said.
• Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was sentenced to death for his participation in the Boston Marathon bombings, has been transferred to the supermax prison facility in Florence, Colorado.
• A 47-year old correctional officer was killed in Texas, when an individual in administrative segregation “managed to get control of an iron bar used to open the slots in cell doors for delivering means to prisons, and assaulted [the CO] with it.” It is unclear how long the prisoner, 37-year-old Billy Joel Tracy, has been in isolation.
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