Seven Days in Solitary [12/27/2015]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | December 27, 2015

• A Texas man is suing the state’s prison system, alleging that the two years he spent in solitary confinement constituted a violation of the 14th Amendment. Nelson Patterson maintains his time in isolation caused him physical and mental harm and aggravated a pre-existing medical condition.

• A survey by the national law firm Lowenstein Sandler found that that ten states permit children to be held in indefinite solitary confinement as a form of punishment. Twenty-one jurisdictions “prohibit the use of solitary confinement in juvenile facilities” and twenty states “impose time-limits on the use of solitary confinement, ranging from 6 hours to 90 days.”

• Under a class-action lawsuit settled in Illinois, 11,000 people with mental health issues will “see substantial improvements in their treatment, including major reductions in the time many spend in solitary confinement.” Under the agreement, people with mental illness who are in solitary confinement for more than 60 days will have their out-of-cell time increased from less than an hour per day to 20 hours per week.

• A Tennessee man who was held in a New Mexico jail for more than a year will receive $750,000 for the time he spent in solitary confinement while incarcerated. Michael Faziani, who is bipolar, alleged he was denied his medication while at the Sierra County Detention Center.

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

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