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 [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 [8/24/20]

• The Los Angeles Times published a piece on the work of 60-year-old Dolores Canales, who co-founded California Families Against Solitary Confinement in 2011. Canales is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Unlock the Box campaign, a group that has worked closely with Solitary Watch. Canales’ son is currently incarcerated at Theo Lacy […]

“I Hope Our Daughters Will Not Be Punished”

By Justine van der Leun Editor’s Note: This powerful article was published in June on the website of Dissent Magazine, and is reprinted in part on Solitary Watch with the permission of the author and publisher. It provides a rare look at the experiences of women in solitary confinement, where the trauma of isolation and deprivation compound the […]

Fourteen Days in Solitary [7/6/20]

• NPR’s Joseph Shapiro produced a piece that ran on “All Things Considered” about the use of lockdowns and solitary confinement around the country in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The piece focused on a recent report from the national Unlock the Box campaign, which is based on research and analysis by Solitary Watch, and found that […]

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 […]

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 [4/20/20]

• The Washington Post reported that attorneys visited the DC jail unannounced last week under a court order to inspect the conditions and health care precautions being taken. Of the 1,442 people held in DC custody, 452 people—or one-third—are held in isolation, where they are prohibited from showering or cleaning their cells. One of the […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/6/20]

• The Huffington Post reported that Juan Mosquero, a 58-year-old law library clerk held at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, became the first person to die of COVID-19 in a New York State prison. The man held in the cell above Mosqueros’ sent an email saying, “He was in isolation for a couple of weeks complaining […]

In San Quentin, Getting the Flu Can Land You in Solitary Confinement

Incarcerated journalist Juan Moreno Haines is the Senior Editor of the San Quentin News. In 2017, Haines received the Silver Heart Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. This article was produced with a grant from the Solitary Confinement Reporting Project, which is managed by Solitary Watch with funding from the Vital Projects Fund. An illustration by O. […]