Seven Days in Solitary [11/1/2015]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | November 1, 2015

• The Center for Constitutional Rights has appealed a district court ruling in a case that seeks to challenge the constitutionality of the Bureau of Prison’s restrictive Communication Management Units (CMUs). CCR lawyer Rachel Meerpol said, “Communications Management Units impose harsh restrictions on prisoners’ communication with their families and with fellow prisoners for years at a time. All we are seeking is an explanation of why these prisoners are being singled out for such a restrictive unit, and the chance to contest false or retaliatory placements.”

• The advocacy group Disability Rights California has released a report alleging that people with mental health needs who are held in Sacramento County’s jail are “subject to excessive isolation and solitary confinement.”

• Fusion covered the changes Ohio has implemented when it comes to placing kids in solitary. “In just one year, the number of hours kids spent in solitary dropped by 92 percent, from 12,000 to less than 900 this year.Prison Legal News also published a story about the changes in Ohio.

• According to Ohio’s Athens Post, the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail has not yet developed a policy about how to safely house transgender people – so trans and intersex people who end up inside would most likely be held in solitary confinement.

• A recent investigation by The Intercept found that “solitary confinement in California jails still hellish despite some reforms.” The article explores how changes with regards to jails in California have lagged behind state prison reforms, perhaps best exemplified in the recent settlement in Ashker v. Brown.

• ThinkProgress investigated the case of four boys currently being held in solitary at the Crisis Management Unit (CMU) inside Broad River Road Complex, a juvenile detention center in South Carolina. “[They are] locked in their cells for 23 hours a day with little to no human contact. Everyone in CMU has been kept in chains — shackled in their cells, showers, and on the basketball court where they are occasionally taken for recreation.

• The Harvard Crimson published an editorial calling for an end to solitary confinement.

Aviva Stahl

Aviva Stahl is a Brooklyn-based reporter who writes about science/health at the intersection of mass incarceration, national security, and trans rights. She’s written for the New York Times, Wired, Buzzfeed News, Solitary Watch, and other outlets. Find her @stahlidarity and at stahlidarity.com.

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