Families of California Prisoners Respond to Controversial Reforms of Solitary Confinement

The following is a response by  California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement (CFASC), an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the use of solitary confinement in California prisons, to the recent revision of gang validation policies. Gang validation is the primary means by which the over three thousand inmates in Security Housing Units (SHU) are […]

Pelican Bay SHU Prisoners Respond to California's Proposed Prisons Reforms

In response to reforms recently outlined by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) regarding gang validation, a group of prisoners held in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) submitted a “counter proposal” to prison activists. Asserting that the CDCR “is asking law makers and taxpayers to allow them to continue to violate […]

California Prisoners in Solitary Confinement Petition the UN to Intervene

Comparing their conditions to a “living coffin,” a group of lawyers for hundreds of California prisoners placed in long-term or indefinite solitary confinement petitioned the United Nations yesterday to intervene on their behalf. The petition, drawn up by the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, names 22 main inmate petitioners and refers to hundreds more held in […]

California Announces Reform of Controversial Policies That Led to Prison Hunger Strike

The Associated Press has reported that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is reforming its policies regarding the controversial Security Housing Units (SHUs), where thousands of inmates are held in solitary confinement for an average of 6.8 years. According to the AP: Gang members would no longer have to renounce their gang membership. […]

The Truth About Solitary Confinement in California

As inmates in California Security Housing Units (SHUs) and Administrative Segregation Units prepare for another hunger strike on September 26 in response to what they see as an inadequate response by the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR), some informative figures have come out this month regarding California’s segregation policies in Pelican Bay State Prison and […]

"I Never Will Abandon This Hope": Testimony of a Pelican Bay Hunger Striker on Solitary Confinement

Julie Tackett, an activist from Washington, attended the August 23rd hearing of the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee on the topic of California’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). She read testimony on behalf of her friend, Bryan, who has spent more than 16 years in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison and took part in […]

"Toxic Conditions": Testimony of Dr. Terry Kupers on Solitary Confinement

Dr. Terry Kupers, a clinical psychiatrist, professor at the Wright Institute Graduate School of Psychology, and expert in forensic mental health, spoke before the California Assembly Public Safety Committee on August 23rd, 2011 addressing the issue of solitary confinement and the need for reform of California’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). The document is also available […]

Voices from Solitary: "Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere"

The following letter was written by an inmate at the California Correctional Institution at Tehachapi, California, who had been placed in solitary confinement in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) after being “validated” as a gang member. Written on July 31st, the letter highlights institutional problems at CCI and makes various recommendations. It also declares support for the […]