Digging Our Way Out of the Hole: Keeping Prisons Safe Without Solitary Confinement

By Jeremiah Bourgeois During his 27 years incarcerated in Washington State prisons, Jeremiah Bourgeois published several articles covering prison life and criminal justice reform, as a regular contributor to the Crime Report. For nearly a decade of his life, he was isolated in solitary confinement. Bourgeois was originally sentenced to life in prison for a crime he committed at the age of […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/5/20]

• The Georgetown Law Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, along with 68 current and former prosecutors and U.S. Department of Justice officials, filed a brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit calling for Dennis Hope to be released from solitary confinement in Texas. Hope has spent the last 26 years in […]

Seven Days in Solitary [9/21/20]

• According to My Twin Tiers, five people held at the Allegheny County Jail filed a lawsuit through the Abolitionist Law Center (ALC) and the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, claiming that the conditions at the facility violate their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 14th Amendment. The ALC conducted a survey of people […]

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 [5/25/20]

• The LA Times reported that 74-year-old Chuong Woong Ahn, an immigrant from South Korea held at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Mesa Verde Processing Center in California, died by suicide on May 17. Lawyers had requested Ahn’s release and his sister had prepared for him to live with her upon release. Despite Ahn’s […]

Seven Days in Solitary [5/11/20]

• The Texas Tribune reported that of the people in prison who have been tested for the coronavirus, 70 percent have tested positive. Only one percent of the prison population, or 1,700 people, has been tested but the percentage of positive results far outweighs the ten percent of Texas residents throughout the whole state whose […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/10/20]

• The Lancet Public Health Journal published the findings of a five-year study that examined the post-release effects of solitary confinement, by tracking nearly 14,000 people rotating through Danish jails and prisons. The Cornell University study, which is the second study to find an increased risk of mortality for people released after having spent time in […]

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 [1/20/20]

• NPR obtained the findings from a 2017 investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Adelanto Processing Center in California, operated by the private prison company GEO Group. The report found the facility in violation of ICE standards for several reasons, including […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/5/19]

• The Hill published an opinion piece by Mark Levin, the Vice President of Criminal Justice Policy for the Right on Crime Initiative, recapping progress from prison administrators and legislators in the last few years that has restricted the use of solitary confinement. Levin cites Colorado as an example of success, after the state reduced […]