Seven Days in Solitary [10/2/2016]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | October 2, 2016

• Governor Jerry Brown of California signed into law a bill limiting the use of isolation in juvenile detention centers. “Young people across the state who are and were incarcerated have been calling for an end to long-term isolation for years,” said Kim McGill, an organizer with Youth Justice Coalition. “It is partly thanks to their powerful organizing that young people in juvenile facilities now have a much better chance at protecting their safety and dignity while in custody as well as improving their outcomes once they return home.”

• The family of a man who was found dead in his Rikers Island isolation cell has won a $5.75 million settlement, the largest for awarded for a death in New York City history. Bradley Ballard, 39, had initially been arrested for violating his parole and failing report to a change of address; while at Rikers he had been denied medication for diabetes and schizophrenia.

• The New York Times profiled Ryan Speedo Green, who is currently playing Colline at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera production of “La Bohème.” As a child, Green spent two months in juvenile detention, including time in solitary confinement.

• Rhode Island held its first-ever legislative commission to study the use of solitary confinement. The 19-member committee will report its finding to the state House of Representative early next year. “The state typically keeps about 300 inmates isolated in small cells, some for months or years,” according to the Associated Press.

• The mother of a 22-year-old man who hanged himself in a New Mexico jail is suing the corporation that runs the facility as well as the company responsible for providing medical care. Evangeline Marquez alleges that her son, Michael Mattis, was held in solitary confinement for the entire duration on his time inside, five months, and she holds the GEO Group and Corizon Health responsible for his suicide.

• Coverage of the national hunger strike continued. Democracy Now interviewed incarcerated organizer Kinetik Justice, who is currently held in solitary confinement at Holman Correctional Facility in Alabama.


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