Seven Days in Solitary [10/23/2016]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | October 23, 2016

• Venida Browder has died due to complications from a heart attack. Her son, Kalief, committed suicide about 16 months ago after spending several years in solitary confinement on Rikers Island.

• An assistant professor at University of California Irvine, Keramet Reiter, penned an op-ed for the LA Times about how to fix solitary confinement in America’s prisons. “Most importantly, isolation cannot become a permanent condition,” he writes. “There must be limits, and opportunities to move prisoners out of solitary confinement into dedicated mental health treatment, or into the general population with rehabilitative programming.” The same academic also published a brief piece in Time magazine.

• Another individual has committed suicide at the Holman Correctional Facility in Alabama, just three days after the Justice Department announced an investigation into the state’s prisons. Robert Deangelo Carter was in solitary confinement when he killed himself.

• Angola 3 member and long-term solitary survivor Albert Woodfox spoke to the Guardian about how he endured 43 years in isolation. “I still get angry,” he said. “I just choose to use my anger as a means for changing things.”

• The DC Council voted unanimously to make substantial changes to the city’s juvenile justice system. If the bill passes on a second vote, children will no longer be placed in isolation or incarcerated alongside adults.

• New Jersey lawmakers have approved a bill to limit the use of solitary confinement in the state’s jails. According to the New Jersey Herald, “the measure would require facilities to only use solitary confinement as a last resort and prohibit it for more than 15 consecutive days or 20 over a 60-day period.”

• NYC’s Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association has filed a lawsuit alleging that the city – including the mayor, Board of Corrections and the City Council – is “ignoring” the needs of Rikers guards and putting them in danger. “Every month, every year, since punitive solitary for the juveniles was eliminated, violence [against guard] has gone up,” COBA President Elias Husamudeen told the New York Post. “All of them have blood on their hands.” A CO “slashed” by incarcerated people under the age of 21 spoke about his experiences to Pix11.

• People locked up at the Santa Clara County Main Jail have suspended their hunger strike, which had been ongoing for about two weeks, after the sheriff’s department agreed to address some of their demands. “The group is still looking for custody staff to adopt the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s classification system and end solitary confinement,” according to the Campbell Patch.



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