Seven Days in Solitary [2/28/2016]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | February 28, 2016

• A new report authorized by the Center for American Progress and the Movement Advancement Project examines how the US criminal justice system fails LGBT people. “LGBT people are frequently placed in solitary confinement, and transgender people are regularly placed in facilities that do not conform to their gender identity.”

• The Boston Globe reported that the South Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was sentenced to 30 days in solitary after he was found masturbating in his cell. A different outlet later published an article entitled, “Maybe don’t laugh at Whitey Bulger’s masturbation punishment.”

• CNN reported that the drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chap” Guzman is willing to accept extradition to the United States if he can serve his time in a medium security prison. Guzman, who was recently recaptured after a high-profile escape from a Mexican high-security prison, has since allegedly been subject to “physical and mental torture” by guards.

• The BBC published a thirty-minute documentary on Nutraloaf, the “compressed food stuff” served to people in solitary confinement who are deemed be breaking additional rules or posing a security threat.

• Coverage continued of Albert Woodfox’s release from prison, including by The New Yorker and Democracy Now.

• A professor of criminal law at Northeastern condemned the lack of solitary confinement reforms in Massachusetts. He writes that the state “has stood on the sidelines, failing to reform its use of disciplinary segregation (punishment for violating prison rules) or administrative segregation (removal from the general population for non-disciplinary reasons).”

• KTUU outlined the findings of a new report about Alaska’s “overcrowded, understaffed, and dangerous” prisons. Anchorage resident Davon Mosley died in solitary confinement in April 2014 after medical staff refused to treat Mosley as a mental health patient, despite the requests of guards.

• City officials in Florence, Colorado fear that Guantanamo detainees may be incarcerated in the city’s federal supermax. The prison, which houses people in arguably the most austere conditions of isolation, was once described by a former warden as a “clean version of hell.”


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