Seven Days in Solitary [12/06/2015]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | December 6, 2015

• A California state senator announced he would push for the passage of a bill to limit the placement of children in solitary confinement. Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco, plans to introduce the Stop Torture of Children Act when the legislature reconvenes in January.

• Washington DC Councilmember Mary Cheh has introduced legislation to limit to use of solitary confinement in the district’s jail. The Inmate Segregation Reduction Act of 2015 would create minimum out-of-time cell for people in solitary and restrict the use of solitary to “only the most serious crimes,” in addition to other reforms.

• Corrections experts and mothers of incarcerated people testified before New York’s Assembly Corrections Committee, calling for greater oversight of the state’s prisons. One woman, Tama Bell said “her son was beaten by guards at Mid-State Correctional after he refused an order and was penalized with 18 months in solitary confinement for behavior violations, although rules prohibit more than 30-day isolation for the mentally ill.”

• Albert Woodfox, the last incarcerated member of the Angola Three, plans to file an appeal with the US Supreme Court over the latest ruling in his case. A federal appeals court recently found that Woodfox, who has been in solitary confinement for over four decades, could be tried a third time for the 1972 killing of a prison guard.

• The NY Daily News spoke to the mother of Kalief Browder, who was held in solitary confinement on Rikers Island for 800 days and subsequently committed suicide. “He tried to lead a normal life but after being beaten, starved, being in solitary confinement for so long, that would take a toll on a grown man, let alone a child,” she said.

• According to the NY Daily News, “the number of state prison inmates tossed in solitary confinement has surpassed 4,000 for the first time in three years,” Advocates attribute the rise in part to backlash from prison guards after the June escape of Richard Matt and David Sweat from an upstate correctional facility.

• Several hunger strikers in immigration detention centers in Georgia and California have been placed in solitary confinement as an intimidation tactic, according to an advocacy group. At least 100 people have participated in the hunger strike, which started on Thanksgiving.


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