Seven Days in Solitary [7/12/21]

• A hunger strike by more than 20 incarcerated men in Pennsylvania prisons over prolonged solitary confinement came to an end after ten days on July 6, reports the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. The strikers are held in the Intensive Management Unit (IMU) at State Correctional Institution-Phoenix, which they allege is de facto solitary confinement. They declared […]

“I Watch the Roaches and I Envy Them.” After 34 Years, Billy Blake Is Released from Solitary Confinement in New York

This article is published in partnership with New York Focus. William “Billy” Blake, whose 2013 essay “A Sentence Worse Than Death” introduced hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide to the soul-crushing reality of life in long-term solitary confinement, has been transferred to the general prison population in New York. In a brief phone call, Blake […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/14/21]

• Northern Correctional Institution, the maximum-security prison that once housed Connecticut’s death row, is now closed, reports the Associated Press. It is the first of three prisons the administration of Gov. Ned Lamont plans to close, amid declining crime rates and falling numbers of incarcerated people. The number of people in prison in Connecticut fell by […]

Judged Incompetent to Stand Trial, People with Mental Illness Still Languish in Pennsylvania Jails

Some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens—people facing criminal charges who are not competent to stand trial because of mental disabilities—have begun a class action lawsuit over the state’s provision of mental health treatment. Last month, eleven plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, sued the heads of a state agency and of the two state […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/8/2015]

• In Jezebel, Solitary Watch Contributing Writer Aviva Stahl interviews Synthia China Blast, a transgender woman who was isolated in involuntary protective custody for almost 20 years. Blast talks about her children, the abuse she suffered and the defense mechanisms she adopted in jail and after she was released. • The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned […]

New Report Documents Brutal Treatment of People with Mental Illness in U.S. Prisons and Jails

“Across the United States, staff working in jails and prisons have used unnecessary, excessive, and even malicious force on prisoners with mental disabilities such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.” This is the conclusion of Callous and Cruel: Use of Force Against Inmates with Mental Disabilities in US Jails and Prisons a Human Rights Watch report […]

Seven Days in Solitary [5/3/15]

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • A 64-year old man was found dead in his cell at San Quentin Prison. He had spent 14 years on California’s death row where 752 people still remain. […]