Seven Days in Solitary [6/04/2017]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | June 5, 2017

• The Crime Report examined the issue of solitary confinement on death row, specifically in Texas. Anthony Graves, who spent sixteen years in isolation on death row before his conviction was overturned, said “Men are literally going insane and attempting suicide because of the way we’re allowing the state to house death row inmates.”

• According to the Charlotte Observer, a “high ranking gang leader” in solitary confinement used a smuggled cellphone to put out a hit on a prosecutor’s father. “Top state officials acknowledge there’s only one way an inmate in solitary confinement at maximum-security Polk Correctional Institution got a cellphone: An employee helped.”

• “Challenges to solitary confinement are effecting change,” according to the American Bar Association Journal. “There was an era in which solitary confinement was seen as a solution to a problem, and now solitary confinement is seen as a problem,” said Judith Resnik, the founding director of Yale Law School’s Arthur Liman Program and Fund.

• Advocacy organizations in South Carolina are pushing for the government to intervene and address high rates of sexual abuse and solitary confinement at the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice facilities, according to a local outlet. “On any given day in 2016, an average of 16.8 percent of all children housed at DJJ’s Broad River Road complex were in segregation,” said a report published in April.

• The American Bar Association filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal by a Guantanamo Bay detainee, Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, who has been held without trial for 15 years. Al-Nashiri is being held in solitary confinement.

• Nikko Jenkins, a Nebraska man who killed several people after being released into the free world directly from solitary confinement, has been sentenced to death for the murders. According to one local outlet, Nebraska prison officials are unsure of where to house Jenkins, since they fear he could attack others on the death row unit. People condemned to death in Nebraska are held separately from the general population, but are they allowed to interact with other death row prisoners in the certain communal areas.


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