D.C. Department of Corrections Withholds Information on Use of Solitary in Jails…and Other News on Solitary Confinement This Week

Seven Days in Solitary for the Week Ending 3/20/24

by | March 20, 2024

This week’s pick of news and commentary about solitary confinement:

A recent report from the Council for Court Excellence (CCE) paints a grim picture of the ongoing use of solitary confinement by the Washington, D.C., Department of Corrections. The majority of people at the D.C. jail are being held in pre-trial detention, meaning they’ve yet to be convicted of a crime. However, despite submitting multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests, CCE was only able to obtain limited information on the number of people in and conditions of solitary confinement at the jail. Washington City Paper | According to the report 1,273 residents were held in solitary confinement before having a Disciplinary Hearing in fiscal year 2021. While the total number of people held in solitary confinement is unknown, 35% of residents housed in Administrative Restrictive Housing, Disciplinary Restrictive Housing, Pre-hearing Detention, or protective custody have an active diagnosis of serious mental illness. Additionally, 29 people were released from Disciplinary Restrictive Housing directly into the community in fiscal year 2021. Council for Court Excellence 

• • •

New information regarding last week’s death of 61-year-old Charles Leo Daniel at an ICE immigration detention facility in Washington revealed that he had been held in solitary confinement for almost four years. Federal data analyzed by the University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights also showed that Daniel served the second-longest solitary sentence since the facility opened in 2008. Seattle Times | Although the cause of death is still unconfirmed, advocates suspect Daniel took his own life. What’s more, Daniels’ death came shortly after a federal judge blocked Washington state from fully enforcing a law that would increase oversight at the for-profit jail. Outrage over the suspected suicide and federal block has sparked hunger strikes within the facility and among advocates. Democracy Now 

• • •

Documents from a recently-settled lawsuit reveal the excessive and inappropriate use of solitary confinement, among other shortcomings, at the Cuyahoga County Jail in Ohio. According to the 252-page report, individuals held at the jail received “minimal due process” during disciplinary hearings that frequently resulted in placement in solitary confinement. Additionally, people in protective custody were held in conditions that resembled “highly punitive” isolation environments. These practices are especially concerning given that 83% of the jail’s population was diagnosed with a serious mental illness or substance use disorder. Cleveland.com

• • •

Children incarcerated at the Jackson Parish Jail in Louisiana are frequently housed in overcrowded cells, forced to sleep on the floor, and shot with pepper balls. After the children had been moved from Angola Prison in late 2023, the Office of Juvenile Justice claimed they were sent to a new juvenile justice facility. In reality, they had been transferred to the jail, where they were housed in similarly abusive conditions and in close proximity to adults. A grievance filed on behalf of one child who was incarcerated at both Angola Prison and the Jackson Parish Jail states that he was held in solitary confinement for 20 hours a day with no more than three hours of school per day. The Appeal 

• • •

Following a recent FBI raid, four administrators have been removed from the federal women’s prison FCI Dublin, including the prison’s acting warden. The raid comes after 63 lawsuits have been filed against the federal Bureau of Prisons in the last year over the ongoing culture of sexual assaults by staff. FCI Dublin was dubbed “the rape club” after eight employees, including the warden and chaplain, were arrested in 2022 for assaulting women incarcerated at the facility. However, little has changed over the last several years as women have continuously been transferred from the facility or placed in solitary confinement for participating in the lawsuits. Truthout | U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has since ordered a special master to provide oversight as reforms are implemented. In a 45-page statement, Judge Gonzalez Rogers refers to FCI Dublin as a “dysfunctional mess” that is “in dire need of immediate change.” Mercury News 

• • •

Get this weekly roundup in your mail every Wednesday, covering the past seven days of solitary confinement news and commentary. Subscribe today.

The work we do is made possible by your support. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation—large or small—today.


Solitary Watch encourages comments and welcomes a range of ideas, opinions, debates, and respectful disagreement. We do not allow name-calling, bullying, cursing, or personal attacks of any kind. Any embedded links should be to information relevant to the conversation. Comments that violate these guidelines will be removed, and repeat offenders will be blocked. Thank you for your cooperation.

Leave a Reply

Discover more from Solitary Watch

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading