Voices from Solitary: Message from a Solitary Confinement Survivor for People Under Self-Quarantine

Mwalimu S. Shakur was in Pelican Bay State Prison’s notorious Security Housing Unit in 2013, when tens of thousands of people incarcerated throughout California launched a mass hunger strike. He and others were protesting the polices of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) around indefinite isolation in solitary confinement (also known as indeterminate […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/27/20]

• The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the conclusion of a study, finding that African and Caribbean immigrants are held in solitary confinement six times more often than their non-Black counterparts in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities. Black immigrants represent four percent of all ICE detainees but make up 24 percent of stays […]

Voices from Solitary: Coronavirus Panic in a Quarantined Washington State Prison

John Hovey, a 52-year-old man serving three consecutive life sentences at Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington State, wrote the following piece in March 2020. Hovey has been incarcerated since the age of sixteen. In this piece, he describes the process of increased restrictions upon incarcerated people, including lockdowns for units that may have been exposed to […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/20/20]

• The Washington Post reported that attorneys visited the DC jail unannounced last week under a court order to inspect the conditions and health care precautions being taken. Of the 1,442 people held in DC custody, 452 people—or one-third—are held in isolation, where they are prohibited from showering or cleaning their cells. One of the […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/13/20]

• The Appeal reported that the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola has reopened the notorious solitary confinement unit Camp J to house incarcerated people infected with COVID-19. The unit was known as “the dungeon” for its starkly inhumane conditions. Fate Winslow, held at the Angola prison, said, “We are still packed in like sardines. The prison […]

Local Jails Were Death Traps Even Before COVID-19. The Pandemic Demands Sweeping—and Permanent—Change.

The following piece originally appeared in the Opinion section of The Guardian on March 30.  •   •   •   •   • On Wednesday, March 18, while New York was emerging as the national epicenter for the novel coronavirus, a desperate message was dispatched from the city’s notorious Rikers Island. “A storm is coming,” tweeted Dr. Ross […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/6/20]

• The Huffington Post reported that Juan Mosquero, a 58-year-old law library clerk held at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, became the first person to die of COVID-19 in a New York State prison. The man held in the cell above Mosqueros’ sent an email saying, “He was in isolation for a couple of weeks complaining […]