Voices from Solitary: We Go Through Hell Here

In the following piece, Ryan Brown describes the conditions he faced during his three years in solitary confinement at Missouri’s Jefferson City Correctional Center. According to the most recent data from the Prison Policy Initiative, 32,000 people are currently incarcerated in the Missouri state prison system, with about an additional 20,000 people held in local […]

Voices from Solitary: Solitary Sorrow

John Jay Powers, the author of this piece and a prolific prison writer, spent over twelve years isolated at the notorious ADX federal supermax facility in Florence, Colorado. The severity of the conditions in solitary confinement led him to develop critical mental health conditions and engage in dire acts of self-harm. Overall, Powers has spent […]

Voices from Solitary: Six by Ten

The following accounts have been excerpted from Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary, a recently published collection of thirteen oral history narratives from people impacted by solitary confinement. Part of the Voice of Witness series published by Haymarket Books, the volume was compiled and edited by ACLU attorney and campaign strategist Taylor Pendergrass and multimedia journalist […]

Voices from Solitary: I Am Enduring

The following account was published anonymously in the report Solitary at Southport, which was released last December by the Correctional Association of New York, a nonprofit organization that monitors conditions in the state’s prisons and advocates for a more humane and effective criminal justice system. Southport is one of New York’s two supermax prisons, and […]

New Guide to Yoga and Meditation Written by and for People in Solitary Confinement

With the help of two remarkable men who have survived years in solitary confinement, Solitary Watch recently published a special supplement to our newsletter, featuring guides to yoga and meditation written for people in solitary, by people in solitary. The yoga guide, written by John Jay Powers, shares excerpts from Powers’ complete guidebook Yoga in 7 […]

Voices from Solitary: A Concrete Death

Branton Noojin received an Honorable Mention for Nonfiction in PEN America’s 2018 Prison Writing Contest for authoring the following piece, “Solitary Confinement,” which is republished here by permission of the author and PEN. Noojin, currently serving a 100-year sentence for murder and voluntary manslaughter, has spent seven years in solitary confinement overall. Here, he provides a striking […]

Voices from Solitary: Double Jeopardy

Originally published in Issue 3 of the Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement newsletter End Solitary!, the following account was written by Tracey Morgan, who was first sent to jail as a teenager. At age 21, upon her arrival at Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCIW), Morgan was placed in solitary confinement. The reason, she says, was that she cried […]

Voices From Solitary: Waltzing Into Hell

The following account was written by Laura Purviance, who is currently serving a 50 to life sentence for murder at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla. In her writing, Purviance describes her experience at Lynwood Jail for women in Los Angeles. After revealing her mental health history, Purviance was placed on “suicide watch” in […]