Behind the Pennsylvania Prison Lockdown: Public Health Crisis or Powerplay?

This article is published in partnership with Truthout. Patricia Marshall Vickers still remembers the week in late August 2018 when she stopped hearing from her son. Incarcerated in Pennsylvania since he was 17 years old, Vickers’s son faithfully called his mother from prison at least every other day—until suddenly, he didn’t. Vickers learned that other family members were […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/18/19]

• The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that three people in the custody of Georgia Department of Corrections died in just over a week. On February 4, 50-year-old Raymond Nelson was found dead in his cell from an apparent suicide at Calhoun State Prison. 27-year-old Daquan Young died on February 6 at Smith State Prison, allegedly as a […]

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 [2/4/19]

• The New York Times reported that 36-year-old Lamekia Dockery, mother of five children, died in July of last year at the Elkhart Community Corrections facility in Indiana after being denied medical attention for six days. In response to Dockery’s constant vomiting and screams of pain, correctional staff accused her of lying, wrote her up […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/28/19]

• The New York Times reported that New York City settled the civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of Kalief Browder, and agreed to pay $3.3 million. Browder, arrested for stealing a backpack when he was 16 years old, committed suicide after being released from nearly three years on Rikers Island, […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/21/19]

• On January 16, Paul Ford died in his solitary cell at Kilby Prison, the second incarcerated person in the custody of Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) to commit suicide this year. Although Ford had been diagnosed with a mood disorder and had attempted suicide several times before while in prison, his mental health screening for placement […]

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 [1/7/19]

• Courthouse News reported that two lawsuits have been filed in the past few weeks against Alameda County in California over conditions at Santa Rita Jail and Glen Dyer Detention Facility. Three women held in the custody of Santa Rita Jail claim that they are being subjected to severe sleep deprivation, which they say has […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/31/18]

• Gothamist published an article noting that thousands of people spent the holidays in isolation in New York’s state prisons, where 2,500 adults are currently held in Special Housing Units (SHU) and about 1,000 others are held in another form of solitary called keeplock. Victor Pate, a formerly incarcerated advocate who was once held in solitary at […]

Voices from Solitary: I Am Enduring

The following account was published anonymously in the report Solitary at Southport, which was released last December by the Correctional Association of New York, a nonprofit organization that monitors conditions in the state’s prisons and advocates for a more humane and effective criminal justice system. Southport is one of New York’s two supermax prisons, and […]