Seven Days in Solitary [5/1/2016]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | May 1, 2016

• The Guardian launched “6×9: A virtual experience of solitary confinement,” a project for which Solitary Watch served as Consulting Producers. A host of accompanying articles about isolation included an introduction to solitary written by Solitary Watch’s Jean Casella and Sal Rodriguez.

• Other key material published on the Guardian included an op-ed by Cory Booker on ending the use of isolation for children, and an in-depth piece on the Angola 3’s Albert Woodfox. “There are moments I wish I was back there,” Woodfox said.

• The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has joined a lawsuit against the Department of Children’s Services and the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center, seeking an end to the use of “lock down” for children who are awaiting trial or have a mental illness. “If you locked your child in a closet you would go to jail,” said Thomas Castelli, legal director for the ACLU of Tennessee. “The government cannot lock children in isolation like this with next to no standards or regulations.”

• Although the Obama administration is pressing states to reduce the use of solitary confinement, his power to do so may be limited. “Having President Obama speak out on this issue is huge, and having the largest prison system in the country, the federal one, move to reduce solitary confinement is very meaningful,” said the ACLU’s Amy Fettig. “But that still leaves us having to go state by state, calling on individual jurisdictions to change.”

• A former Philadelphia police sergeant has spent the last seven months in solitary confinement for refusing to release the passwords to his encrypted hard drives. Francis Rawls is under suspicion of possessing child pornography, but has not been charged with a crime; he is being held in contempt for not complying with a court order.


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