Seven Days in Solitary [6/19/2016]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | June 19, 2016

• The Pioneer Institute released a report calling on Massachusetts to reform the use of solitary confinement in the state’s prisons and jails, as well as shift oversight at Bridgewater State Hospital, the only hospital in the country currently run by a corrections department. “Promoting serious reform to solitary confinement will send a message that resonates nationally,” said institute fellow Jordan Harris.

• The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that solitary confinement can amount to a violation of constitutional rights in extreme cases. “While it may be difficult to ascertain at what point duration becomes extreme, drawing such a conclusion in a particular case requires specific inquiry and fact-finding by a district court to determine the specific conditions of the administrative segregation,” wrote Justice Eric Rosen.

• A 19-year-old high school student has been held in solitary confinement at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, since June 7. Wildin Guillen Acosta, who is undocumented, has been in federal custody since he was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on January 28. Supporters worry he is facing retaliation for being an outspoken, high-profile detainee.

• A man incarcerated in West Virginia has alleged he was placed in solitary confinement after refusing to submit to medically unnecessary surgery on his penis, according to an article published in Think Progress. Last week, a federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit filed by the prisoner, Adrian King, who ultimately agreed to the surgery, which he claims has permanently scarred him.

• About half a dozen people locked up in Wisconsin participated in a hunger strike to protest against their placement in long-term solitary confinement. One person participating, LaRon McKinley Bey, has been in administrative segregation for more than 25 years.

• North Carolina prison officials announced plans to stop placing children 17 and younger in solitary confinement. “Today’s announcement shows once again that it is past due time for North Carolina to join 48 other states and finally raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction so that 16 and 17 year olds are no longer automatically sent to the adult criminal justice system but rather protected and given a chance to turn their lives around,” said the ACLU’s National Prison Project and five other groups in a statement released the following day.


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