Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Leader Held in Solitary for Six More Years…and Other News on Solitary Confinement This Week
Seven Days in Solitary for the Week Ending 3/8/23
Todd Ashker, an organizer of the Pelican Bay hunger strikes and lead plaintiff of a lawsuit that led to significant changes in California’s use of solitary confinement, has been held in solitary for nearly six years since the changes went into effect. Last week, a federal judge ruled that Ashker’s placement in solitary was an instance of retaliation for his participation in the lawsuit that violated his First Amendment rights. Ashker’s lawyers have said that prison officials have retaliated against at least one other lawsuit participant, though their identity has not yet been disclosed. San Francisco Chronicle
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A coalition of advocacy organizations, including Unlock the Box, #HALTSolitary, and the California Mandela Campaign, has submitted a statement urging the United Nations to review how solitary confinement is used punitively and disproportionately against Black people in the United States. According to the submission, over a third of people in solitary become psychotic or suicidal within the first 15 days, and many experience harmful physical effects. The United Nations will visit the United States in April to examine issues of racial justice and equality in law enforcement. The Hill
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Disability Rights North Carolina hosted a listening session featuring survivors of solitary and their loved ones as part of its campaign to end solitary confinement. “You’re killing people when you put them in there. You’re killing them, slowly but surely,” said John Howell, who recounted his experience in isolation. Solitary is widely used in North Carolina with large racial disparities, with Black people making up 22% of the state population but 80% of those in High Security Maximum Confinement. NC Policy Watch
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Two experts in a federal lawsuit have criticized the mental health provisions at Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County Jail as “shockingly substandard” in reports filed last month. The reports highlight the jail’s continued use of solitary confinement, which was banned in a referendum in 2021. “The inadequacies of the mental health treatment and rehabilitation programs lead to the overutilization of use of force and solitary confinement,” said psychiatrist Terry Kupers, one of the two experts retained in the lawsuit. TribLive
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The last participants in the Texas prison hunger strike have stopped striking. The protest, which began seven weeks ago, brought national attention to the state’s solitary confinement practices, including its policy of placing alleged gang members in isolation indefinitely. “What we’ve done has empowered the men, it has humanized them to the public and most importantly it has brought them together in ways their programming never could,” said Brittany Robertson, an organizer with Texas Prison Reform. High Plains Public Radio
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A string of recent suicide attempts has taken place at the Torrance County Detention Facility in Estancia, New Mexico, drawing attention to the facility’s treatment of people with mental health conditions. According to immigrants detained at the facility, people who express suicidal intent are often put in solitary confinement. “When I was in the cell I told them, ‘Why won’t you turn off the lights?’ That they were treating me worse than el Chapo. ‘Why won’t you turn off the lights?’ and they would leave them on,” said one man at the facility who was placed in solitary after attempting suicide. The Hill
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A commentary by Jack Morris makes the case for the passage of the California Mandela Act, which would limit solitary confinement in the state. Morris, who spent more than 25 years in solitary during his incarceration, writes that solitary is “designed to crush the human spirit.” Now a program director at a Los Angeles nonprofit that supports formerly incarcerated people with reentry, Morris reflects, “I was lucky to survive my time and now have the opportunity and privilege to speak on behalf of so many who did not.” Capitol Weekly
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Abigail Glasgow profiles Leo Hylton, who is co-teaching a Colby College course on abolition from within the walls of Maine State Prison. Hylton is likely the first incarcerated professor of his kind in the United States. “It’s one thing to just read an article about solitary confinement,” said Halle Carroll, who was in Hylton’s class. “It’s another thing to finish reading and hear Leo talk about his experience and the experience of others.” Mother Jones
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Things have changed over the past decades since I was an inmate..Came home from Army in 1972 & I truly didn’t fit in my hometown anymore..Had a hard time fitting in & ended up in prison in no time at all..The hole was a despicable thot but doable..Usually a convict got locked in his usual housing cell for a duration rather then transfer to the shoe..They did practice a good solitaire program tho..30 days prior to parole a convict was transfer to the solitaire housing unit to protect him from breaking the rules, thereby adding more time to a sentence..They’d help get a driver’s license & other things that are needed for a successful parole.. my next 2 terms, there was no pre parole programs
You have officers who bring their personal problems inside with them and take it out on the inmates, abusing their power. Walk in an inmates shoes for a month and I’m sure you will feel different
Enjoy reading comments from persons that have never worked a day in a jail or prison.
Soliatary confinement is harse. They are already punished. Being in there. I think it harms them more. I’m not a correctional officer to see the actions of the inmates. But there has to be a better way to correct the problem. Just saying may you keep your heart open.
Their doing the same thing to my son their making them fight for the CO”s entertainment and then adding more time to him and he’s been on Solitary Confinement since Nov.29 2022 in Calipatria Ca. and they Gladiator School or the Arena
UTILIZING SOLITARY CONFINEMENT FOR OTHER THAN THE SICK MINDED PIECES OF SHIT CHILD RAPIST, CHILD KILLERS, CHILD ABUSERS,CHILD TORCHER’S, OR PREMEDITATED KILLERS!! IS JUST AS SICK MINDED AS THOSE THAT I HAVE MENTIONED ABOVE!!! SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IS A TORCHER ROOM FOR THE PIECES OF SHIT THAT DESERVE IT AND SHOULD NOT EVEN BE ALIVE! ANYONE THAT CAN TAKE AN INNOCENT LIFE SHOULD NOT HAVE THE PRIVILEGE TO COME OUT OF THEIR CELL UNTIL THEY DIE OR IS TAKEN BY THE MORGUE!!!!
As a former inmate 99.99% of those behind bars belong behind bars
When they are finally caught they’re only paying for the crime they were cought committing not the hundreds of others they weren’t caught for and once you’ve had a face full of urine and feces in your face i guarantee you’ll be all for solitary confinement
Solitary confinement seems cruel, butttttt if you have people that are doing harm to others then put them in there for a short time, but years is unacceptable.
It’s a difficult job housing inmates, I would say walk in a correctional officers shoes for about a month and I believe you will not finish the week out. It’s a different game inside!
I’m sure some inmates change for the better but the criminal mind is a difficult one to trust. Especially a level 3 & 4 inmate.
Well then let him the hell out!