Jean Casella is Co-Director and Editor of Solitary Watch, a national watchdog group that investigates, reports on, and disseminates information about the use of solitary confinement and other forms of extreme isolation in U.S. prisons and jails in order to spur public debate and catalyze change on one our country’s most pressing domestic human rights issues. In 2012, Jean was named a Soros Justice Media Fellow by the Open Society Foundations for her work on solitary confinement. Her writing has appeared in The Nation, Mother Jones, The Guardian, and many other print and online publications, and she is co-editor of the 2016 anthology Hell Is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement as well as two earlier anthologies. In all, Jean has spent three decades directing, writing, and editing at mission-driven media projects, including independent book publishers the Feminist Press and Thunder’s Mouth Press. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
James Ridgeway is Co-Director and Founder of Solitary Watch, marshaling over nearly 60 years of experience as an investigative reporter to expose one of the darkest corners of the U.S. criminal justice system. For his work on the subject, he has received a Soros Justice Media Fellowship, Alicia Patterson Fellowship, and Media for a Just Society Award. Prior to founding Solitary Watch, James served as Senior Washington Correspondent for Mother Jones. Before that, he spent more than 30 years as Washington Correspondent for the Village Voice, reporting domestically on subjects ranging from electoral politics to corporate malfeasance to the rise of the racist far right, and abroad from Haiti, Northern Ireland, and the former Yugoslavia. Earlier in his career, James wrote for Ramparts and The New Republic and founded and edited two independent publications, Hard Times and The Elements. His work has appeared in dozens of other publications, and he is the author of 18 books, including his groundbreaking 1991 work on the far right, Blood in the Face, which will be published in a new edition in 2019. He also co-directed of two documentary films, including a companion film to his book also entitled Blood in the Face. He lives in Washington, DC.