Seven Days in Solitary [6/25/2017]
Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement
• Seth Ferranti, who reported on prison conditions while he was incarcerated in Bureau of Prisons custody, penned a piece for the Huffington Post about the time he was thrown in solitary, then transferred to a Communication Management Unit (CMU) for writing articles critical of the BOP. People locked up in the BOP’s two CMUs face strict limits on their communication with the outside world or even fellow prisoners in general population, and CMUs been called “an experiment in social isolation” by the Center for Constitutional Rights.
• A federal judge has ruled that the use of solitary confinement in Wisconsin’s juvenile facilitties, poses “acute, immediate and enduring” harm to children and must be scaled back. “U.S. District Judge James Peterson on Friday also ordered shackling juvenile inmates and the use of pepper spray be used much more sparingly than now,” reported Wisconsin public radio.
• At a convening of the Massachusetts Legislature Judiciary Committee, family members and anti-solitary advocates shared proposals to limit the use of segregation in the state’s prison population. “You need to make sure someone poses a threat in order to keep them in segregation, and you have to give them a pathway out,” said Bonita Tenneriello, an attorney for Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts, in a piece published by the AP. “You have to give them some kind of programming to address their behavioral problems.”
• The US Supreme Court issued a final ruling in Ziglar vs. Abbasi, a civil rights lawsuit filed in 2002 to hold high-level Bush officials responsible for the mistreatment endured by Muslim, South Asian and Arab non-citizens arrested by the INS and FBI after 9/11. In reversing a lower court’s decision, the Supreme Court found in a 4-2 ruling that the lawsuit against the officials couldn’t proceed. “They were charged with only civil immigration violations,” explained HuffPo. “But the plaintiffs said they were subjected at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center to 23-hours-a-day solitary confinement, strip searches, sleep deprivation, beatings and other abuses and denied the ability to practice their religion.”
• Akeem Browder, whose brother Kalief committed suicide after spending three years on Rikers Island, has announced his intention to run for New York City mayor. Much of Kalief Browder’s time at Rikers was spent in solitary confinement.
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