Seven Days in Solitary [5/29/16]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | May 29, 2016

• Truth-Out published an op-ed entitled, “Solitary Confinement Is Used to Break People — I Know Because I Endured It.” Survivor Monica Cosby writes, “I’ve been out of solitary for over 11 years, but I still smell my cell. I still hear the correctional officers clanging the bars and jingling their keys and handcuffs. Because I said ‘no.’”

• In the LA Review of Books, Alessandro Camon tells the story of hunger strikes that pushed California to change – “How the most isolated prisoners in America took on the system, and won.”

• The Tennessee Department of Corrections has stopped sending people to the state’s newest prison, apparently due to staffing and training issues, according to documents obtained by the AP. “The memo — obtained by the AP through an open records request for public documents about the taxpayer-funded facility — says the guards were not in control of the housing units, were not counting inmates correctly and were putting inmates in solitary confinement for no documented reason.”

• Nidhi Prakash of Fusion interviewed Kalief Browder’s brother, Akeem, on what would have been Kalief’s 23rd birthday. “He took his life through suicide, but it was really the years that he was on Rikers being tortured that took his life.”

• Four people have filed a class action lawsuit against California’s Shasta County Jail. According to one local outlet, “The lawsuit claims violations at the jail prevented disabled inmates from showering, sleeping and moving around. The lawsuit alleges some plaintiffs were put in solitary confinement or even denied cancer medication for speaking up about the problems.”

• The ACLU of Ohio and Disability Rights Ohio published a report calling for the state to reform its use of solitary confinement, especially when it comes to incarcerated people with mental illness. “On any given day, more than a quarter of the 2,952 Ohio prisoners in solitary confinement have a mental illness,” notes an outlet that covered the report release.

• According to the News & Observer, the North Carolina Department of Corrections is moving away from solitary confinement. Meanwhile, a young man named Devon Davis spoke to The Modesto Bee about the 1001 he spent in isolation in the state’s prisons. “Walls close in on you. You so anxious to get out your room, but they (the guards) don’t want you to come out.”


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