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.
• Journalist Raven Rakia explores the class-action lawsuit filed in June against the Illinois Department of Corrections, which alleges that the state’s use of solitary confinement violates the Constitution. Allan Mills of the Chicago-based Uptown People’s Law Center said, “Solitary has been used for decades and continues to be used today for anybody to make any sort of move to stand up for their own selves or to try to better the system as a whole.”
• Chelsea Manning, who is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified material, could potentially be placed in indefinite solitary confinement for violating Fort Leavenworth’s military prison rules. Manning is charged with a number of disciplinary infractions, including having expired toothpaste, and being in possession of an issue of Vanity Fair.
• Debate continues over where the remaining Guantanamo detainees should be held, should they ever be transferred onto American soil. Obama administration officials have maintained that Thomson, the BOP’s second federal supermax facility soon set to open in Illinois, is no longer an option on the table.
• In states across the country, jails sometimes hold young people charged as adults, yet because of federal legislation they are often held in solitary confinement for their own protection, according to an article published by The New York Times. The Washington Post also published a story about children held in isolation in adult facilities.
• A man who was held in solitary confinement for 45 years was killed on a California prison exercise yard just days after being released into general population. Prison officials should have known that 71-year-old Hugo “Yoni” Pinell was in danger, according to Pinell’s lawyer.
• Several advocacy groups have sent a letter to the Justice Department, asking for an investigation into North Carolina’s use of solitary confinement. The request comes one week after the state agreed to pay $2.5 million to the family of individual who died in isolation.
• NY Mag published an in-depth investigation into “The Movement Against Solitary Confinement.” “What to do about people with long records of genuine violence is the hardest question in the whole arena of crime, and the most stubborn issue in the social science that surrounds it,” writes Benjamin Wallace-Wells. “But campaigning against capital punishment doesn’t really begin to answer that question. Trying to fix solitary confinement does.”
• Solitary confinement in New Jersey’s prisons and jails was explored in a Philly.com article.
• VICE published an article entitled, “Inmates Say the Director of the Bureau of Prisons Lied About Solitary Confinement” – in which several prisoners respond to Director Samuels’ recent Congressional testimony that “[The BOP does] not practice solitary confinement.”