Voices from Solitary: Six by Ten

The following accounts have been excerpted from Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary, a recently published collection of thirteen oral history narratives from people impacted by solitary confinement. Part of the Voice of Witness series published by Haymarket Books, the volume was compiled and edited by ACLU attorney and campaign strategist Taylor Pendergrass and multimedia journalist […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/11/19]

• As temperatures in New York dropped to ten degrees last week, the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn—a facility operated by the federal Bureau of Prisons that houses 1,600 mostly pretrial individuals—lost power and administrators locked down the facility for several days, leaving many detained individuals without heat, lighting, warm meals, clean clothing, medical […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/14/19]

• The Charlotte Observer reported that the new sheriff of North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County, Garry McFadden, has formally closed the disciplinary detention unit at the county jail, which used to hold teenagers in solitary for 23 hours a day and deny them access to phone calls, visitors, books, and classes. McFadden explained his reasoning for […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/2/18]

• According to Jeffrey Kaye writing on Medium, the ACLU obtained recently declassified documents revealing collaboration since the early 2000s between the CIA’s Office of Medical Service (OMS) and the Federal Bureau of Prison (BOP) in sharing interrogation and torture techniques used at the CIA’s Salt Pit black site in Afghanistan and the BOP’s supermax ADX Florence […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/25/18]

• Crosscut reported that Amar Mergensana, a 40-year-old asylum seeker from the Russian Republic of Buryatia in Siberia, died this week after he committed suicide in the custody of Northwest Detention Center, an ICE facility operated by GEO Group in Tacoma, Washington. The immigrant advocacy organization NWDC Resistance called for an investigation into his death, claiming […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/18/18]

• The New York Daily News reported that a state medical review board found that adequate medical treatment could have prevented 50 deaths in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision in the past five years. The board’s report found in multiple instances, people with psychiatric disabilities committed suicide […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/11/18]

• According to the Chicago Reporter, the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago increased its use of solitary confinement on children by nearly 25 percent from 2016 to 2017, despite a twenty percent drop in the detained juvenile population. Superintendent Leonard Dixon believes that solitary is “something that you use to ensure that your […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/14/18]

• Yale University’s Liman Center, in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators, produced a report Reforming Restrictive Housing with data collected in 2017 of the number of people in restricted housing in federal and state prisons across the nation. The survey, based on numbers reported by the prisons, found that the number of […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/7/18]

• The Vera Institute of Justice, in partnership with the University of Michigan Law School and the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, launched a new section of its Safe Alternatives to Segregation Resource Center. Called “Promising Practices,” the new section compiles information on reform efforts and alternatives to solitary confinement that have been implemented […]

Prisons Use Solitary Confinement to Silence Strikers Nationwide—But Their Voices Have Been Heard

In commemoration of the Attica Uprising 47 years earlier, incarcerated organizers chose September 9 as the final day of the nearly three-week-long National Prison Strike that began on August 21. The strike eventually extended to federal prisons, state prisons, immigration detention centers, and local jails across at least fourteen states, with actions ranging from work […]

Seven Days in Solitary [9/23/18]

• The Tacoma News Tribune reported that immigrants detained at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC), an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Tacoma, Washington, have engaged in hunger strikes to protest separation from their children, inhumane conditions at the facility, and a forced labor program, among other concerns. Two of the hunger strikers, one of […]