The Guardian Marks a Major Milestone for Solitary Watch and Justice in Journalism

by | December 18, 2023

Dear Supporters, Readers, and Friends:

I want to share with you a remarkable feature story published yesterday by The Guardian, which focused largely on some exciting recent news from Solitary Watch:

“In November, Juan Moreno Haines earned a coveted promotion. The California journalist was named editor-in-chief of Solitary Watch, a non-profit news organization reporting on conditions in US prisons.

“Haines helps 16 writers craft story ideas, fact-check, edit articles and navigate the many hurdles of reporting on neglect and abuse behind bars, all while dealing with a major obstacle no other media leader in America has to face: he is prohibited from directly communicating with his journalists, most of whom he has never met.

“Haines himself has been incarcerated for 27 years and does his job from inside San Quentin prison…All of his writers are incarcerated, too. Unless they’re located at his institution, he sends them messages and edits through intermediaries at the non-profit…”

The Guardian rightly identified Juan Haines as being “at the leading edge of US prison journalism,” and his appointment as editor-in-chief of Solitary Watch as being a major milestone.

Last week, Juan sent a message to all of you about why it is important to support this work: “The voices of incarcerated writers will deepen the public’s understanding of the criminal punishment system and its damaging effect on every aspect of our communities. And the stories they tell will help readers re-envision how we treat human beings.”

Our commitment to this work could not be stronger, and with Juan, we have not only the voice, but also the leadership this mission deserves. The only thing limiting what we can do is resources.

If you have already given to Solitary Watch during this year-end fundraising drive, thank you—you are among a very small minority of our readers whose generosity makes our work possible.

If you are a past donor who has not yet given this year, please consider a gift to Solitary Watch now, as we enter this crucial and exciting new phase of our work.

If you have followed Solitary Watch and care about what we do, but have never donated—please make this the year! Donations in any amount are deeply valued and appreciated.

As always, ALL DONATIONS WILL BE DOUBLED THROUGH THE END OF THE YEAR through NewsMatch. And THE NEXT $2,000 IN DONATIONS WILL BE TRIPLED thanks to a special grant from the MacArthur Foundation. If you make a monthly recurring donation, all 12 of your gifts to Solitary Watch will be matched.

Juan wrote in his message: “Solitary Watch and I have great plans for the future, which we believe will help to end the torture of solitary confinement and transform the narrative around mass incarceration and criminal justice. We hope you will take this opportunity to join us!”

I hope so, too.

With sincere gratitude,

Jean Casella
Director, Solitary Watch


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