Seven Days in Solitary [10/28/18]

• San Jose Inside reported on the settlement of the 2015 class action lawsuit Chavez v. County of Santa Clara, which challenged the use of solitary confinement at San Jose’s Main Jail as unconstitutional. The lawsuit alleged that many of those held at the Main Jail had not yet been convicted of the crime with which they […]

Seven Days in Solitary [5/28/2017]

• Social entrepreneur Marcus Bullock and writer Dwayne Betts, who both spent time in solitary confinement as kids, wrote about their experiences for The Hill. “The hole became a rite of passage. A cauldron meant to destroy. And of course, the loneliness that seeps into your bones does not leave — regardless of what follows.” […]

Guarding the Fortresses: How Prison Policies Limit Media Access to Solitary Confinement

Journalists face serious obstacles to reporting on prisons–and even more to uncovering the truth about solitary confinement. (See James Ridgeway’s essay “Fortresses of Solitude.”) Public oversight of governmental institutions, which can help to prevent corruption and abuse by those in power, is seen as a hallmark of an engaged, democratic citizenry. However, when it comes […]

Journalists Barred from Prison Isolation Units

The following essay by Solitary Watch’s James Ridgeway appears in the current issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, which also includes an excellent story on the difficulties involved in reporting on prisons in general. For more on prison media policies, see our accompanying article by Rachel M. Cohen. Supermax prisons and solitary confinement units are our domestic […]

Prisoner Sent to Solitary Based on Reading Materials

Prisoners are often assigned to solitary confinement cells–sometimes indefinitely or permanently–because corrections officials have identified them as gang members. Some prisoners complain that the criteria for being “validated” as a gang member are arbitrary and inaccurate, and also subject to abuse by prison staff. Recently, a California prisoner charged that he was put in solitary confinement based largely on his […]

Storming "Little Gitmo": Lawsuit Challenges Restricted Units in Federal Prisons

The Center for Constitutional Rights has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in D.C. on behalf of five prisoners held in solitary confinement in the “Communications Management Units” (CMUs) of two federal prisons. The “experimental” units were supposedly designed to hold high-risk inmates, including terrorists, whose crimes warrant heightened monitoring of their external and […]