Seven Days in Solitary [7/26/2015]
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.
• North Carolina reached a $2.5 million settlement with the estate of Michael Kerr, who died of dehydration in 2014 after being held in solitary confinement for 35 days.
• According to the Crime Report, legal challenges to solitary confinement practices may work their way to the Supreme Court sooner than anticipated. The article mentions three cases, including Prieto v. Clarke, which challenged Virginia’s policy of automatically isolating people on death row.
• Cleveland.com published an op-ed calling for strict limits on youth placement in solitary confinement in the state’s prisons, jails and residential treatment facilities. “Although solitary confinement already has had a chilling effect on the lives of countless youths, we can act now to ensure vulnerable children are protected in the future.”
• Several cities held rallies to oppose the use of solitary confinement in local jails and prisons, including New York and Chicago. At the Chicago protest, one individual formerly incarcerated at Tamms Correctional Center said, “A supermax cell is going to exist in [a person’s] mind forever… They have to return to their loved ones damaged.”
• The New York Times published an article entitled, “Critics of Solitary Confinement Are Buoyed as Obama Embraces Their Cause.” Speaking about the President’s comments, the executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture said, “’We’ve been saying for decades, ‘It’s time,’ and it really feels now like it is time. The silence has been broken.”
• An article in the Washington Post examines how many people may be held in solitary confinement in Maryland, and recent advocate and legislative struggles to study and reduce the use of isolation in the state.
• A local CBS station covered the plight of “Jane Doe,” a young Michigan woman held in an adult facility who has been in solitary confinement since May 12. “This case is about what happens to youth when you do put them in an adult prison. The sexual abuse and assaults by adult prisoners and staff, the Tasering, shackling and placing them in excessive solitary confinement,” said one of Doe’s attorneys.
• An article published on MuckRock examines solitary confinement practices across the New England states – including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island.
Solitary Watch encourages comments and welcomes a range of ideas, opinions, debates, and respectful disagreement. We do not allow name-calling, bullying, cursing, or personal attacks of any kind. Any embedded links should be to information relevant to the conversation. Comments that violate these guidelines will be removed, and repeat offenders will be blocked. Thank you for your cooperation.