Seven Days in Solitary [6/15/20]

• According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, solitary confinement remains the only housing option for many incarcerated transgender people, unless they choose to stay in a general population of the opposite gender. Kamiah Kahanel, a transgender woman held in the male Nottoway Correctional Center in Virginia, was attacked by an incarcerated man, who cut her face and […]

Fourteen Days in Solitary [6/8/20]

• The New York Daily News reported that prosecutors for the Bronx District Attorney will not pursue criminal charges related to the death of Layleen Polanco, a 27-year-old Afro-Latinx, transgender woman, last June. Polanco died from an epileptic seizure while being held in punitive segregation, or solitary confinement, at Rikers Island jail in New York […]

Seven Days in Solitary [5/18/20]

• The Philadelphia Inquirer published the “Lockdown Diaries,” a set of writings from incarcerated people during Pennsylvania’s longest ever statewide lockdown. Instituted because of the coronavirus pandemic, the lockdown basically places everyone in the prison system in indefinite solitary confinement in an effort to control contagion (despite the existence of more humane and effective alternatives). Accompanied by illustrations created […]

Voices from Solitary: Coronavirus Panic in a Quarantined Washington State Prison

John Hovey, a 52-year-old man serving three consecutive life sentences at Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington State, wrote the following piece in March 2020. Hovey has been incarcerated since the age of sixteen. In this piece, he describes the process of increased restrictions upon incarcerated people, including lockdowns for units that may have been exposed to […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/13/20]

• The Appeal reported that the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola has reopened the notorious solitary confinement unit Camp J to house incarcerated people infected with COVID-19. The unit was known as “the dungeon” for its starkly inhumane conditions. Fate Winslow, held at the Angola prison, said, “We are still packed in like sardines. The prison […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/16/20]

• ABC reported on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that in response to COVID-19, people incarcerated in the state’s prisons will be producing 100,000 gallons of hand sanitizer per week to be provided to residents for free. Cuomo contracted the production under a deal with Corcraft, the brand for products produced in prisons, but advocates […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/17/20]

• KIRO 7 reported that the family of Damaris Rodriguez, a 43-year-old mother of five who died in the South Correctional Entity Jail in Des Moines, Washington, in 2017, has released a video documenting her death. When Rodriguez’s husband called 911 to request an ambulance for her mental health episode, police took Rodriguez to the jail, where she was put in solitary confinement […]

In Largest Action to Date Against Solitary Confinement, Hundreds Gather in Albany to Push Reform Legislation

“Hey hey! Cuomo! Solitary has got to go!” “Our families are suffering, and we can’t wait. We gotta HALT solitary, in New York State!” The fluorescent-lit underground concourse connecting the New York State Capitol, Legislative Office Building, and other government buildings rang with chants, shouts, and drumming on Tuesday, January 20, with hundreds of advocates […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/27/20]

• The Texas Observer published a piece telling the story of solitary confinement in Texas prisons, through various firsthand accounts from people who spent significant time in severe isolation. According to its own numbers, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) holds over 4,400 people in solitary, including 1,300 people held in isolation for six or […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/30/19]

• The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the suicide rate in California prisons has reached an all-time high this year, in what the Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) called “an inmate suicide crisis.” There have been 36 reported suicides in 2019, which means that for every 100,000 people incarcerated in […]