Seven Days in Solitary [11/13/2016]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | November 13, 2016

• The ACLU interviewed the outgoing UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, about what he accomplished during his tenure. “We still need to ban prolonged solitary confinement and indefinite solitary confinement,” he said of the progress that needs to be made in the US. “And regardless of duration, we need very clear and specific rules of due process, including judicial review of decisions.”

• An individual incarcerated at the Santa Barbara County Main Jail is suing the Sheriff and his department for being placed in pre-trial solitary confinement. Robert Lee Billie has alleged that that jail staff “knowingly, willingly, and arbitrarily” reassigned him to the “Level 5 General Population Restrictive Unit” for 280 days.

• Legislators in the St. Louis Board of Aldermen introduced legislation to secure more information about who is being held in solitary confinement at the city’s two jails. If passed, the legislation would require the city to release a quarterly report on the number of inmates who are in administrative segregation.

• The LA Board of Supervisors voted to pay out $3.25 million to two mothers who alleged that their sons had been killed in county jails. John Horton, 22, was found hanging in his solitary confinement cell in March 2009, but his family and their legal team maintained that the scene had been staged, and that Horton had been beaten to death by guards.

• “In North Carolina’s prisons, about half a dozen inmates have been in solitary confinement for more than a decade,” according to the Charlotte Observer. The state, however, is refusing to release any information on who has been held in isolation for these long periods of time.

Aviva Stahl

AVIVA STAHL is a Brooklyn-based reporter who writes about science/health at the intersection of mass incarceration, national security, and trans rights. She’s written for the New York Times, Wired, Buzzfeed News, Solitary Watch, and other outlets. Find her @stahlidarity and at

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