Seven Days in Solitary [5/20/18]

• The Charlotte Observer reported that 39-year-old Kenneth Wayne Bigham committed suicide only days after being placed in solitary confinement at Mecklenburg County Jail in North Carolina, where no visitors, phone calls, or books are allowed, with the exception of religious material. A spokesperson for the NC ACLU said, “This tragedy is a terrible reminder […]

Seven Days in Solitary [5/13/18]

• Solitary Watch obtained a copy of a letter to prison and corrections department officials, written by some of the men in the solitary confinement unit at Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland, expressing their desire to meet with prison officials and discuss the conditions in their unit. The letter declared that of they did not receive […]

Court Rulings Against Canada's Use of Solitary Confinement Could Set New Standards for Reform

Recent landmark court decisions in cases challenging solitary confinement in Canada’s federal penitentiaries could reverberate beyond Canadian prison walls. In two cases launched by prison justice and civil liberties organizations, federal courts found solitary confinement as it is practiced today to be unconstitutional. The rulings would force significant changes in the Canadian penal system—but incarcerated people and their […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/4/18]

• The Denver Post reported on the reforms taking place in Colorado’s Division of Youth Services (DYS), which have drastically reduced the use of solitary confinement for youth and resulted in a decrease of violence in most facilities. The reforms aim to move the state juvenile correctional system from a punitive jail environment to a […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/25/18]

• The Washington Post reported that federal judge Leonie M. Brinkema ruled unconstitutional the state of Virginia’s practice of placing death row individuals in solitary confinement. In 2015, Virginia allegedly stopped placing individuals with death sentences in solitary confinement, but the state had refused to maintain this prohibition. However, Brinkema, the first federal judge to determine […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/4/18]

• In a Joint Budget Hearing on Public Protection in Albany, New York, on January 30, New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera asked Acting Corrections Commissioner Anthony Annucci a question regarding the New York’s use of solitary confinement. Rivera referred to Colorado corrections chief Rick Raemisch, who four years ago spent 24 hours in solitary […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/28/18]

• In a long article in the Annual Review of Criminology, Dr. Craig Haney provides a comprehensive review of the growing consensus against solitary confinement in the academic, legal, scientific, medical, and even correctional fields. The piece provides theoretical backing and empirical evidence of the detrimental consequences of depriving individuals of meaningful human contact through the use of solitary, as […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/19/17]

• Saifullah Paracha, a 70-year-old man from Pakistan and the oldest individual incarcerated at Guantánamo Bay, says that the treatment of detainees at the facility has gotten worse since the election of Donald Trump. Last month, as reported by Newsweek, guards performed a forced “cell extraction” on Paracha before subjecting him to solitary confinement for […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/12/17]

• One of the Angola 3, Albert Woodfox, who served the longest stretch in solitary confinement documented in the United States of 43 years and 10 months, discussed on Love + Radio his experience as a Black man in society, in the Louisiana prison system, and in solitary: “The thing about pain is it’s always fresh. No matter […]

Lawsuits Challenge the Cruelty of Decades in Solitary Confinement on Death Row

In a dissenting opinion written earlier this year, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that “If extended solitary confinement alone raises serious constitutional questions, then 20 years of solitary confinement, all the while under threat of execution, must raise similar questions, and to a rare degree, and with particular intensity.” Yet in a majority of […]