Voices from Solitary: Fly in the Ointment

Peter Collins has been in prison for more than 30 years and is one of Canada’s longest-serving prisoners. He is currently incarcerated at Bath Institution near Kingston, Ontario. Collins is an award-winning human rights activist, writer, artist and peer health educator.  In 2008, he was awarded the Canadian Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human […]

London Calling

For the next two weeks, Solitary Watch will be on hiatus while my colleague Aviva Stahl and I take a reporting trip to the United Kingdom. While there, we will be speaking with officials and inspectors of Her Majesty’s Prison Service, as well as prison reform advocates, scholars, and currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. We  also […]

UN Torture Investigator Barred from Visiting American Supermax Prisons

More than two years ago, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan MĂ©ndez, asked the U.S. State Department for permission to visit individuals in solitary confinement in supermax prisons and isolation units. He is still waiting for a response. Recently, our colleague Sarah Shourd interviewed MĂ©ndez for an article in the Daily Beast that describes his […]

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 […]

Pope Francis Denounces Solitary Confinement, Calls for Prison Conditions That "Respect Human Dignity"

In a wide-ranging speech on Thursday, Pope Francis revealed himself as a passionate criminal justice reformer. His words also suggest that he is familiar with the controversies surrounding solitary confinement and supermax prisons, and strongly opposes their use. Speaking at the Vatican to representatives of the International Association of Penal Law, the Pope said: “All Christians and people […]

Seven Days in Solitary [5/25/14]

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • A Texas woman has filed a lawsuit alleging that in 2012, she was forced to give birth in solitary confinement without medical assistance, leading to her baby’s death.  […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/20/14]

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • April 17 marked Albert Woodfox’s 42nd year in solitary confinement. Woodfox, a member of the Angola 3, remains locked up even though his sentence has been overturned three times. […]