Seven Days in Solitary [08/20/2017]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | August 20, 2017

• The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska has filed a lawsuit alleging that overcrowding in the state’s prison system had caused the “needless suffering and death” of people on the inside. According to the Omaha World-Herald, “the 87-page suit alleges that inmates, especially those with disabilities and mental health problems, are denied adequate health care and that some inmates spend months and years in solitary confinement, sometimes shackled, particularly harming those with mental illnesses.”

• An attorney for a man on Arkansas’s death row petitioned Governor Asa Hutchinson to deny the state’s Attorney General’s request to set a date for his execution. The defense attorney has said that Jack Gordon Greene, who was sentenced to death in 1991 for murder, “suffers from severe delusions, and believes that the Arkansas Department of Correction will execute him in order to cover up abuses. Williams argues that years of solitary confinement have degraded Greene’s mental competency,” according to an article published by a local NPR station.

• The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has concluded an investigation into the death of Jean Jimenez-Joseph, an immigrant detainee who killed himself while locked up at the Stewart Detention Center last May. The GBI determined there had been no foul play in the death of Jimenez-Joseph, who serious mental heath diagnoses and a history of suicide attempts. In a statement, Jimenez’ family said, “First, those responsible for Jean’s care and safety at Stewart knew of the serious medical challenges he faced, and the risks these conditions posed. Second, despite this knowledge, they failed to uphold the standards in place to protect and care for the most vulnerable people in their charge. And third, Jean’s tragic death could easily have been prevented if these standards had been met.”

• “Arizona Department of Corrections’ (DOC) director, Charles Ryan, appeared before a Phoenix judge last week to address whether he tried to undermine a court order that prohibited retaliation against inmates who participated in a class-action lawsuit over the quality of health care in the state’s prisons,” reported the Huffington Post. The DOC is said to be failing to comply with the 2015 settlement, which mandated that prisoners in solitary confinement who have serious mental health issues were to receive more treatment.


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