Seven Days in Solitary [3/20/2016]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | March 20, 2016

• A Nebraska outlet profiled the experiences of Jacob Rushner. As a teenager, Rushner was kept in solitary confinement for 41 days at the Douglas County Youth Center in Omaha.

• A prison captain who was fired in the wake of Michael Kerr’s 2014 death cannot get his job back, a North Carolina Court of Appeals had ruled. Kerr died of thirst while in solitary confinement. The prison captain – Shawn Blackburn – had ordered he be handcuffed in his cell, and he was left like that for days.

• Two parents are suing Galveston County for $25 million after their son, Jesse Jacobs, 32, died while serving 30 days in jail for a DUI. Jacobs was allegedly denied his anti-anxiety medication and suffered withdrawal seizures as a result; he was then placed in solitary confinement, where he was later found unresponsive and without a pulse.

• A federal appeals court heard arguments from Center for Constitutional Rights lawyers, that the Bureau of Prison’s restrictive Communication Management Units (CMUs) pose a significant hardship to their clients. People held inside CMUs cannot touch their relatives during visits and are completely segregated from those in general population. The majority of those held in CMUs are Muslims, and people spend long periods of time there – from three to five years, on average.

• For the first time in the state’s history, a New Jersey court has ruled the state can force-feed a prisoner on hunger strike. William Lecuyer, 37, went on year-long hunger strike in 2012 to protest his placement in solitary confinement; he revived his hunger strike in July and his weight has since dropped below 100 pounds.


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