Why Holder's Pledge That Snowden "Will Not Be Tortured" Is a Lie

In a letter pressing Russia not to grant asylum to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Attorney General Eric Holder made the highly disingenuous promise that Snowden will not be tortured if he is returned to the United States. “I can report that the United States is prepared to provide to the Russian government the following assurances regarding the treatment Mr. […]

The Ten Worst Prisons in America

“The Ten Worst Prisons in America,” our eleven-part article, premiered yesterday over at MotherJones.com with the notorious ADX Florence federal supermax. A new worst prison will be published each weekday (with some dishonorable mentions at the end), so please check in from time to time for new postings. What follows is the introduction to the series. “If you […]

Federal Government Seeks Dismissal of Supermax Suicide Lawsuit

The U.S. government is currently contending with two federal lawsuits that challenge the torturous conditions at the U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum (ADX) in Florence, Colorado. Both suits allege that the social isolation and sensory deprivation at ADX are so extreme that they drive prisoners to madness, self-mutilation, and suicide–yet the Bureau of Prisons offers them next to nothing […]

European Human Rights Court Rules Terror Suspects Can Be Extradited to U.S. Supermax

The European Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday that Britain can extradite five men to the United States to face terrorism charges. In the likely event that they are convicted, they face life sentences in solitary confinment in the notorious ADX Florence, the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” The AP is calling the high-profile case “a European referendum […]

Beyond Guantánamo, There's Long-Term Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons

While it never uses the term “solitary confinement,” the front-page story in yesterday’s New York Times titled “Beyond Guantánamo, a Web of Prisons for Terrorism Inmates” is in effect a survey of long-term solitary at the federal level. The article describes “an archipelago of federal prisons that stretches across the country, hidden away on back […]

Federal Lawsuit Challenges 27 Years of Supermax Confinement

A suit brought by law students on behalf of one of the nation’s most most notorious supermax prisoners could break new ground in challenging long-term solitary confinement on Constitutional grounds. Earlier this year, we wrote about the case of Thomas Silverstein, who has now spent 27 years in solitary under a “no human contact” order–and who recently sued the Bureau of Prisons with […]

America's "Most Isolated Man" Sues the Bureau of Prisons

Tommy Silverstein has spent 26 years in federal supermax prisons under a “no human contact” order. Now, with the help of students at the University of Denver’s law school, he is one of a handful of prisoners who are challenging long-term solitary confinement on Constitutional grounds. Silverstein, now 57, was first sent to San Quentin for armed robbery in 1971, […]