Seven Days in Solitary [6/22/20]

• On the Last Week Tonight show, John Oliver discussed the alarmingly high rates of coronavirus in prisons and jails across the U.S., as the New York Times reported that the five largest known outbreaks of the virus are in correctional facilities. Oliver explained that prisons and jails are not equipped to handle public health crises and […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/15/20]

• According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, solitary confinement remains the only housing option for many incarcerated transgender people, unless they choose to stay in a general population of the opposite gender. Kamiah Kahanel, a transgender woman held in the male Nottoway Correctional Center in Virginia, was attacked by an incarcerated man, who cut her face and […]

Fourteen Days in Solitary [6/8/20]

• The New York Daily News reported that prosecutors for the Bronx District Attorney will not pursue criminal charges related to the death of Layleen Polanco, a 27-year-old Afro-Latinx, transgender woman, last June. Polanco died from an epileptic seizure while being held in punitive segregation, or solitary confinement, at Rikers Island jail in New York […]

Seven Days in Solitary [5/18/20]

• The Philadelphia Inquirer published the “Lockdown Diaries,” a set of writings from incarcerated people during Pennsylvania’s longest ever statewide lockdown. Instituted because of the coronavirus pandemic, the lockdown basically places everyone in the prison system in indefinite solitary confinement in an effort to control contagion (despite the existence of more humane and effective alternatives). Accompanied by illustrations created […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/20/20]

• The Washington Post reported that attorneys visited the DC jail unannounced last week under a court order to inspect the conditions and health care precautions being taken. Of the 1,442 people held in DC custody, 452 people—or one-third—are held in isolation, where they are prohibited from showering or cleaning their cells. One of the […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/13/20]

• The Appeal reported that the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola has reopened the notorious solitary confinement unit Camp J to house incarcerated people infected with COVID-19. The unit was known as “the dungeon” for its starkly inhumane conditions. Fate Winslow, held at the Angola prison, said, “We are still packed in like sardines. The prison […]

Fourteen Days in Solitary [3/30/20]

• Dozens of national articles have covered the dangerous effect COVID-19 has had—and threatens to have—on prisons, jails, and detention centers in the U.S., as well as the measures some jurisdictions are taking to deal with that danger. The Prison Policy Initiative has tracked some of the responses from state and local correctional facilities and compiled […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/9/20]

• NBC4 reported that the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), a federal jail in New York City, was locked down for over a week while officials searched for a gun that had allegedly been smuggled into the jail by an officer. The gun was found late last Thursday in an individual’s cell, but the Chief of […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/2/20]

• The Montgomery Advertiser reported that the families of four men who committed suicide in Alabama prisons in the past two years have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming they faced cruel and unusual punishment. The Southern Poverty Law Center says that the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) violates their own policies, including routine security […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/24/20]

• The Miami Herald reported that a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of 51-year-old Cheryl Weimar, claiming two male officers attacked the psychiatrically disabled woman held at Lowell Correctional Institution in Florida last August, leaving her paralyzed from the neck down. One of the alleged attackers, Ryan Dionne, remains on staff at the prison. […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/17/20]

• KIRO 7 reported that the family of Damaris Rodriguez, a 43-year-old mother of five who died in the South Correctional Entity Jail in Des Moines, Washington, in 2017, has released a video documenting her death. When Rodriguez’s husband called 911 to request an ambulance for her mental health episode, police took Rodriguez to the jail, where she was put in solitary confinement […]