Seven Days in Solitary [8/28/2016]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | August 28, 2016

• Vox addressed “how the first liberal Supreme Court in a generation could reshape America” if Hillary Clinton is elected, including when it comes to solitary confinement. “Even if the Court were to only place a five-year maximum on periods in solitary confinement, that would be a significant step forward,” the piece reads. “If the Court is bold enough to accept the UN standard and place a hard two-week limit, then tens of thousands of prisoners would be spared a truly devastating punishment that many medical experts believe to be a form of torture.”

• An Illinois judge has ruled that a terrorism suspect is not competent to stand trial and instead needs psychiatric help. The father of Adel Daoud said that his son’s mental health issues began when at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where Daoud was held in solitary confinement for almost four years awaiting trial.

• The Marshall Project revisited the demands made by prisoners during the uprising at Attica prison, and how many promises have never been fulfilled – including instituting a 30-day maximum for segregation. “Though there are limits for first-time offenders in the general population, inmates can still spend years, even decades, in solitary,” notes the site.

• According to ThinkProgress, nearly half of juvenile centers use isolation as a form of control. “The experience [of solitary] is traumatic and depressing and can have an enormous impact on kids’ mental health,” said Mark Soler, executive director for the Center for Children’s Law and Policy.

• The DC Court of Appeals has reinstated a lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Prisons’ Communications Management Units, which hold a predominately Muslim population in small-group isolation with limited access to the outside world. “However, the district court ruled that prisoners had no ‘liberty interest’ in avoiding placement in a CMU – and thus did not need to receive any process at all before being sent to one – despite the severe communications restrictions, stigma, and years-long segregation that come with such placement,” according to the Center for Constitutional Rights.

• A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a teenager and his mother, which alleges that the young man was wrongfully held in solitary confinement at the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center in Tennessee. Sharieka Frazier says he was held in 23-hour isolation with no books or other materials, and that even “his cell window was covered with a board for a period of time”

• Family members are suing the South Carolina Department of Corrections after their son died while in solitary confinement from an untreated kidney infection. Victor Rogers, 27, had “decompensated” in the box after also being denied treatment for his mental health issues. “While housed at Evans [Correctional Institution], Victor was noted as being catatonic,” the lawsuit said. “He defecated and urinated on his food trays.”


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