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 [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 [1/7/19]

• 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 [12/9/18]

• KOB4 reported that Keith Kosirog and Adonus Encinias, two men held in solitary confinement at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Los Lunas, committed suicide last Sunday. Albuquerque attorney Matt Coyte, who has represented individuals held in solitary, noted that evidence showed Kosirog had a psychiatric disability. Coyte expressed disappointment that Gov. Susana Martinez had vetoed […]

Prisons Use Solitary Confinement to Silence Strikers Nationwide—But Their Voices Have Been Heard

In commemoration of the Attica Uprising 47 years earlier, incarcerated organizers chose September 9 as the final day of the nearly three-week-long National Prison Strike that began on August 21. The strike eventually extended to federal prisons, state prisons, immigration detention centers, and local jails across at least fourteen states, with actions ranging from work […]

Seven Days in Solitary [9/30/18]

• As Dr. Christine Blasey Ford faced attacks and death threats for publicly accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Victoria Law published an article in Truthout highlighting the punishment, humiliation, and danger incarcerated survivors frequently face when they report sexual assaults in prison. Solitary confinement, under the guise of “protection” or as retaliation by prison […]

Seven Days in Solitary [9/2/18]

• The Guardian reported further suppression and retaliation against incarcerated organizers of the Nationwide Prison Strike, specifically through the use of solitary confinement and long-distance transfers. According to a spokesperson for the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, “Leaders were picked off, one by one, and thrown into solitary in anticipation of the strike that was coming.” […]

Solitary Confinement on Television: 'Orange Is the New Black' and Pop Culture's Lockup Landscape

Tomorrow, Netflix will release fourteen new episodes of the hit series Orange Is the New Black, inevitably renewing discussions of a host of prison issues. From the start of the series, the incarcerated women of Litchfield Penitentiary warn protagonist Piper Chapman about the horrors of “the SHU,” the federal prison’s Segregated Housing Unit. Chapman’s character, […]

UPDATED: From One North Carolina Prison, Reports of an Eight-Month Lockdown

UPDATE (September 18, 2014): Solitary Watch received the following statement via email from North Carolina Department of Public Safety spokesperson Keith Acree: The evolving lockdown situation at Scotland Correctional Institution has affected about 600 inmates in close custody regular population housing. The medium custody (~540) and minimum custody (~240) populations have not been affected nor have […]