“I Hope Our Daughters Will Not Be Punished”

By Justine van der Leun Editor’s Note: This powerful article was published in June on the website of Dissent Magazine, and is reprinted in part on Solitary Watch with the permission of the author and publisher. It provides a rare look at the experiences of women in solitary confinement, where the trauma of isolation and deprivation compound the […]

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 [1/20/20]

• NPR obtained the findings from a 2017 investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Adelanto Processing Center in California, operated by the private prison company GEO Group. The report found the facility in violation of ICE standards for several reasons, including […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/23/19]

• The Associated Press published an article on the high rate of suicides by people held in solitary confinement across New York state prisons. A report from the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision found that 30 of the 130 suicides between 2004 and 2013 in New York prison occurred in solitary […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/16/19]

• WORT Community Radio reported that one person has died at Columbia Correctional Institution in Wisconsin since the facility was locked down on November 4. Unconfirmed reports state that the death was a suicide. The lockdown has imposed severe restrictions, equivalent to solitary confinement, on the people held at the prison, according to Jacob Glicklich, […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/25/19]

• The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections agreed to a settlement with the Abolitionist Law Center (ALC) and the ACLU of Pennsylvania last week that will end indefinite solitary confinement for people held on death row in the state. The 136 people with death sentences will now have over 42 hours […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/28/19]

• According to the Hartford Courant, Judge Stefan Underhill has called the conditions “unconstitutional” for people held on Connecticut’s death row. While Connecticut has abolished capital punishment, a “compromise law” passed in 2012 mandated that in the absence of the death penalty, those sentenced to death must be held in solitary confinement for the rest of […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/21/19]

• The Texas Observer published an article about Russell Johnson, who died this past summer in solitary confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Coffield Unit. His sister, Tambra Marsh, had noticed during her visits that her brother had psychologically deteriorated since his placement in solitary in 2016. Johnson talked about the voices haunting […]

Louisiana on Lockdown: Voices from Louisiana's Solitary Confinement Cells

For the recent report Louisiana on Lockdown, a collaboration between Solitary Watch, the ACLU of Louisiana, and the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans, more than 700 people held in solitary confinement in Louisiana state prisons completed a 12-page survey—the largest single survey conducted of people in solitary. The respondents provided vivid and deeply […]

Seven Days in Solitary [9/9/19]

• According to the Associated Press, NBC news anchor Lestor Holt spent two nights in a cell at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, to report on criminal justice reform. Holt stayed in the prison’s death row unit, where people are isolated in their cells for 23 hours a day. The man housed next to Holt had […]