Voices from Solitary: In Prisons, Mass Solitary Confinement Turns Quarantine Into Punishment

John Hovey, a 54-year-old man who has been incarcerated since the age of sixteen, and is currently serving a life sentences at Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington State, wrote the following piece in March 2021. He describes his experience of solitary confinement as “quarantine” during the COVID-19 pandemic. His entire unit was moved to the […]

Immigrant Detainees Went on Hunger Strike Against Intolerable Conditions and COVID Exposure. ICE Punished Them with Solitary Confinement.

This exposé of abusive practices at the ICE Processing Center in Tacoma, Washington, was written by Renée Feltz, who received a grant from the Solitary Confinement Reporting Project, administered by Solitary Watch with funding from the Vital Projects Fund. Feltz is the Co-Director of Democracy Now! News and an award-winning investigative journalist who has covered criminal justice and […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/18/20]

• The Associated Press reported that all federal prisons have been locked down in anticipation of the potentially violent protests that could erupt across the country on the inauguration day of Joe Biden. The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has reportedly begun to move some of its Special Operations Response Team (SORT) from federal prisons to […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/11/20]

• The Washington Post reported that British District Judge Vanessa Baraitser blocked the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, based on the high risk of suicide and self-harm he would face imprisoned in the U.S. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, struggles with mental illness and is currently held in a British prison. Citing […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/4/20]

• According to the Mercury News, 57-year-old Todd Ashker filed a complaint about the “torturous” conditions in solitary at Kern Valley State Prison. Ashker was the lead plaintiff in a 2016 landmark settlement that ordered Ashker and hundreds of others to be released from solitary confinement at the Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit (SHU). But years […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/28/20]

• USA Today published an opinion piece by solitary survivors Johnny Perez, Jack Morris, and Pamela Winn, all of whom now advocate for the rights of incarcerated people. All three recounted their own experiences being trapped in prison for the holidays. Perez, the director of the U.S. Prisons Program at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, […]

Incarcerated Women Are Punished for Their Trauma With Solitary Confinement

Elizabeth Hawes is an award-winning prison writer and former editor of Reflector, the prison news magazine at Minnesota Correctional Institution (MCI)—Shakopee, where Hawes is serving her Life Without Parole sentence. In November 2020, Hawes won an award in the PEN America Prison Writing Contest. In 2018, Hawes completed the play Supernova, examining women’s incarceration and […]

Fourteen Days in Solitary [12/21/20]

• The New Orleans Lens reported that the non-profit Promise of Justice Initiative (PJI) released a report, claiming that prison administrators and staff responded inadequately to the coronavirus pandemic, causing unnecessary death and suffering. The report found, “Principally, correctional officials [in Louisiana] responded to COVID- 19 or exposure to the virus by placing people in solitary confinement or putting portions […]