Can International Laws and Standards Help Curb Solitary Confinement in the United States?

The United States prides itself in being a leader in the international community. But when it comes to some human rights issues—including the use of solitary confinement—the U.S. lags far behind most other nations. Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, many new declarations, treaties, and standards have been produced […]

UN Human Rights Experts (Again) Push for Access to U.S. Prisons, Call for Solitary Reform

The United Nations’ top experts on the human rights of people in detention are calling on the United States to open the doors of its prisons to an official visit. Juan E. MĂ©ndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and Seong-Phil Hong, the Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, made the request after President […]

UN Committee on Torture Questions U.S. Record on Solitary Confinement

Last Wednesday and Thursday, United States government officials met with representatives at the United Nations to discuss the country’s compliance with the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). Every country that is a signatory to the CAT is required to submit a “Periodic Report” to the […]

Voices from Solitary: Survivors Speak

 The American Friends Service Committee has a long history of advocating for the rights of the incarcerated, and against injustice and abuse in U.S. prisons, jails, and detention centers. Recently, AFSC released a report called Survivors Speak: Prisoner Testimonies of Torture in United States Prisons and Jails. The document was prepared as a Shadow Report to the official U.S. […]

U.S. Government Tells UN: “No Systematic Use of Solitary Confinement in the United States”

Today, dozens of advocates will travel from around the country to Washington, DC, to take part in what are called “Civil Society Consultations” with representatives of the U.S. government on the subject of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). As a signatory of CAT, the […]

UN Investigator Says Long-Term Solitary Confinement in New York State Prisons Is Torture

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan MĂ©ndez has concluded that the state of New York violated the rights of three incarcerated men “to be free from torture” by locking them up them in long-term solitary confinement.  The findings, which were submitted to the UN Human Rights Council last month, were published alongside similar “observations” […]

Voices from Solitary: "Extradition"

Today we arrive in London, where on Thursday we will speak at a forum entitled “Extradited to a Future of Torture: The Reality of Solitary Confinement in America.” Hosted by the International State Crimes Initiative (ISCI) at Kings College London, the event features the premiere of a film made by the Yale Visual Law Project, The […]

At U.N. Prisoners' Rights Meeting, U.S. Resists Limits on Solitary Confinement

David Fathi, who directs the ACLU’s National Prison Project and its Stop Solitary initiative, has been reporting from the U.N. Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting on revising the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR), held last week in Buenos Aires. Fathi reported that the United States delegation proposed some “concrete and positive changes to the SMR”–but […]