Seven Days in Solitary [9/18/2016]
Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement
• The Kansas Court of Appeals has ordered a lower court to consider the constitutionality of extended stays in administrative segregation. Cledith Bohanon, who filed the lawsuit, has been in the box at Hutchinson Correctional Facility for the past 850 days.
• The Daily Beast told the story of Benjamin Van Zandt, who at 17 was sentenced to 12 years in prison for setting a house on fire, and sent into New York’s prison system. “There he was raped, extorted, forced to mule drugs, sent to solitary confinement, and deprived of the medication required to keep him stable” – and ultimately committed suicide.
• A medical examiner has determined that a Black man who died in solitary confinement in a Milwaukee prison last April suffered from severe dehydration. Terrill Thomas, 38, had a history of mental illness; the water tap in his cell was reportedly shut off because he had previously flooded his cell. Terrill’s death was ruled a homicide.
• A new virtual reality project will seek to make a series of videos about life on the inside to foster empathy with people in prison. TakePart reports: “Based on true stories of Americans affected by incarceration, the videos, [project co-manager Jamie] Wong said, explore ‘the four most pivotal moments that define the prison experience’—vulnerability, sentencing, lockup, and solitary confinement—through the eyes of different characters.”
• A UK court has ruled that alleged British hacker Lauri Love will face extradition to the United States, a move which has greatly concerned his family and support network. “Lauri has very severe and very well-documented mental health issues,” his lawyer said in the past. “In the U.S., when you’re on suicide watch, they put you into solitary confinement.”
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