Seven Days in Solitary [10/30/2016]
Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement
• In the year since the historic settlement agreement in Ashker v. Brown, there has been a 99% decrease in long-term solitary confinement at California’s Pelican Bay Prison. Center for Constitutional Rights staff wrote about the significant gains from the settlement in Truth-Out.
• Idaho’s work to decrease its use of solitary confinement was featured on a local station, KBOI. The state’s Corrections Director, Kevin Kempf, spoke about why the use of extended isolation is dangerous and discussed the step-down programs put in place to help people get out of the box.
• The Marshall Project released an investigation into the extended use of shackles at Lewisburg, a supermax prison where people are frequently double or triple celled. Sebastian Richardson said he was placed in hand and ankle cuffs for 28 days for refusing to be celled with someone he believed to be violent. NPR also ran a segment on the issue.
• The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ordered the state Department of Corrections to give people placed in Special Management Units, a form of administrative segregation, the same rights and privileges as people placed in other forms of solitary confinement. According to the Boston Globe, the court found that “all prisoners held in administrative segregation are entitled to a hearing to petition for their release from segregation, and they must be told what steps they can take to expedite their return to the general population. They also must be given a projected release date.”
• Angola 3 members and solitary confinement survivors Robert King and Albert Woodfox were interviewed on Democracy Now about the Black Panther legacy and the need to free the remaining political prisoners. “The one thing I have learned is that living free is a constant adjustment,” said Woodfox of what it’s like to be outside after 43 years in isolation. “So I don’t know if I will ever stop adjusting to how society constantly changes.”
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