Seven Days in Solitary [7/31/2016]

• A woman has filed a lawsuit against New York’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), alleging that she was wrongfully thrown in solitary confinement for 90 days for having a cake knife in her cell. Pamela Smart, 48, is a former high school teacher who was convicted of convincing one of her students […]

The Use of Isolation in U.S. Prisons: A Human Rights Issue

Guest Post by Bonnie Kerness Editor’s Note: As coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Project, Bonnie Kerness is a leading voice for humanitarian reform of U.S. prisons, jails and detention centers. Kerness is also a pioneer in raising awareness about the use of prolonged solitary confinement and in uncompromisingly identifying the practice as a […]

The Hidden History of Solitary Confinement in New Jersey's Control Units

Guest Post by Bonnie Kerness Editor’s Note: As coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Project, Bonnie Kerness is a leading voice for humanitarian reform of U.S. prisons, jails, and detention centers. Kerness is also a pioneer in raising awareness about the use of prolonged solitary confinement, and in uncompromisingly identifying the practice […]

Bonnie Kerness: Pioneer in the Struggle Against Solitary Confinement

Guest Post by Lance Tapley In 1986 Ojore Lutalo, a black revolutionary in the Trenton State Prison — now the New Jersey State Prison — wrote to Bonnie Kerness’s American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) office in Newark. His letter described the extreme isolation and other brutalities in the prison’s Management Control Unit, which he called a “prison […]

Voices from the "Torture Chambers": Solitary Confinement and Political Repression

Guest Post by Bonnie Kerness Editor’s Note: Bonnie Kerness of the American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Project was one of the first Americans to name the widespread use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons as a form of torture. Her longtime battle against this practice is just one chapter in a lifetime spent in various forms of social justice […]