Letters from the Hole

Every year, hundreds of human beings in solitary confinement reach out to Solitary Watch through the old-fashioned practice of letter-writing. A while back, I wrote this piece about what it is like to correspond with people who live in solitary confinement. (It has since helped inspire coverage of our work by The New Yorker, WNYC’s “The Takeaway,” and Al Jazeera’s […]

Pat Nolan's Evangelical Prison Reform

When it comes to Washington politics, a handful of congressman lead the way in shaping prison reform. At the forefront of this movement are John Conyers, Michigan’s ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee; Bobby Scott, Virginia’s indefatigable opponent of solitary confinement; and Cedric Richmond, who, as a member of the Louisiana legislature, has spoken out […]

Journalists Barred from Prison Isolation Units

The following essay by Solitary Watch’s James Ridgeway appears in the current issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, which also includes an excellent story on the difficulties involved in reporting on prisons in general. For more on prison media policies, see our accompanying article by Rachel M. Cohen. Supermax prisons and solitary confinement units are our domestic […]

"God's Own Warden": Inside Angola Prison

Editor’s Note: The latest issue of Mother Jones magazine includes James Ridgeway’s long article on Burl Cain, warden of the nation’s largest prison, and possibly its most notorious. The former slave plantation is known for the fact that 90 percent of its more than 5,000 prisoners will die behind bars, and also for holding two […]