At San Quentin, the Response to COVID-19 Brings More Isolation and Suffering to People with Mental Illness

The following piece is written by Juan Moreno Haines, an award-winning journalist incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison. Haines is an editor at the San Quentin News, a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, a past recipient of a Solitary Confinement Reporting Project grant, and a Contributing Writer at Solitary Watch. Since the COVID-19 […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/18/20]

• The Associated Press reported that all federal prisons have been locked down in anticipation of the potentially violent protests that could erupt across the country on the inauguration day of Joe Biden. The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has reportedly begun to move some of its Special Operations Response Team (SORT) from federal prisons to […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/11/20]

• The Washington Post reported that British District Judge Vanessa Baraitser blocked the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, based on the high risk of suicide and self-harm he would face imprisoned in the U.S. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, struggles with mental illness and is currently held in a British prison. Citing […]

Incarcerated Women Are Punished for Their Trauma With Solitary Confinement

Elizabeth Hawes is an award-winning prison writer and former editor of Reflector, the prison news magazine at Minnesota Correctional Institution (MCI)—Shakopee, where Hawes is serving her Life Without Parole sentence. In November 2020, Hawes won an award in the PEN America Prison Writing Contest. In 2018, Hawes completed the play Supernova, examining women’s incarceration and […]

Fourteen Days in Solitary [12/21/20]

• The New Orleans Lens reported that the non-profit Promise of Justice Initiative (PJI) released a report, claiming that prison administrators and staff responded inadequately to the coronavirus pandemic, causing unnecessary death and suffering. The report found, “Principally, correctional officials [in Louisiana] responded to COVID- 19 or exposure to the virus by placing people in solitary confinement or putting portions […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/7/20]

• The Intercept reported that a group of immigrants held at the Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsen, Alabama banded together in July, all demanding coronavirus tests. But instead of providing testing, prison officials locked down the unit and transferred ten of the most vocal people to solitary confinement. One immigrant, Sebastian Abalo Cunna, wrote, […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/30/20]

• The Arizona State Law Journal published an article written by law professor Laura Rovner and assistant professor Nicole Godfrey, entitled, “COVID-19 in American Prisons: Solitary Confinement is Not the Solution.” By mid-November, at least 182,593 incarcerated people in the U.S. have tested positive for the coronavirus and 1,412 incarcerated people have died. The article […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/23/20]

• The Boston Globe reported that the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. attorney’s office conducted an investigation, finding “reasonable cause to believe” that the Massachusetts Department of Correction (MDOC) has been violating the rights of people with mental health conditions by failing to provide them with proper care. MDOC has been placing people in […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/9/20]

• The ABA Journal reported that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that six prison officials at the John T. Montford Psychiatric Facility in Lubbock, Texas are not entitled to qualified immunity from the lawsuit filed against them by incarcerated man Trent Taylor. The lawsuit claims that Taylor spent six days alone in cells […]