Seven Days in Solitary [9/11/2016]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | September 11, 2016

• CNN profiled changes in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections with regards to the use of solitary confinement. “Inmates with mental illness are no longer held in solitary confinement. Additionally, all staff members — 15,000 to 16,000 people, according to [DOC Secretary] Wetzel — are trained in Mental Health First Aid.”

• James Holmes, who was convicted of the Aurora theater shootings, has been transferred to an undisclosed location out of state and is in solitary confinement. The Denver Post reports that Holmes “sits in a prison cell for 23 hours a day, receives no forwarded mail, has no access to the internet and is given no exercise equipment.”

• People in prisons across the country planned to kick off a September 9th work stoppage to protest what they termed “modern-day slavery.” Organizers anticipated that participants could be placed in solitary confinement for engaging in the strike.

• Whistleblower Chelsea Manning went on hunger strike to demand “dignity and respect” in prison, as well as appropriate treatment for her gender dysphoria. Manning is facing indefinite time in solitary confinement after trying to commit suicide this past summer.

• California’s KQED News reports that “A Year After Settlement, Hundreds of State Prison Isolation Cells Empty.” According to the article, the number of male inmates in the state’s Security Housing Units has been cut by about two-thirds.

• A federal judge has approved a settlement in a lawsuit between the Community Legal Aid and the Delaware Department of Corrections, which alleged that people with mental illness had been placed in solitary confinement without appropriate evaluation, monitoring and treatment. According to Delmarva Public Radio, “under the settlement approved late last week, the Department of Correction will limit the length of time that inmates spend in disciplinary housing and will increase the amount of unstructured recreation time available to inmates in certain maximum security settings.”


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