ACLU Takes a Strong Stand Against Solitary Confinement

Over the last two weeks, the ACLU has adopted a much more vigorous stance against solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails. It has launched a listserv to bring together lawyers, activists, scholars, journalists, and others interested in the subject, and asked the UN Human Rights Council to look into solitary’s torturous effects on prisoners in the United States. […]

James Ridgeway Interviewed on Release of Scott Sisters

Solitary Watch’s James Ridgeway was interviewed yesterday on WBUR radio’s “Here and Now” program on the release of Jamie and Gladys Scott. You can listen to the interview here: http://www.hereandnow.org/2010/12/30/mississippi-sister-robbery. Our original story on the Scott sisters–one of the first to appear–can be found here:  https://solitarywatch.org/about/for-jamie-scott-an-11-robbery-in-mississippi-may-carry-a-death-sentence/. Our thoughts on the reasons why Haley Barbour might […]

After 16 Years Behind Bars for an $11 Robbery, the Scott Sisters Will Be Free at Last

The following announcement was issued today by Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi, regarding Jamie and Gladys Scott. We were among the first non-local media sources to write about the Scott sisters case, back in March. The full story of their arrest and incarceration, and Jamie Scott’s struggle to stay alive in prison, can be found here and here, […]

Voices from Solitary: Katfish on Life in "The Bucket"

Katfish’s blog posts appear on Tales from the Cells, a web site featuring writing by prisoners, maintained by Nikita. Katsfish–whose given name is Mike Harris–is currently serving time in FCI Yazoo City, a federal prison near Jackson, Mississippi. Before he was transferred to “the Zoo” last fall, he was in FCI Big Spring, in west central Texas. Although both […]

No Evidence of National Reduction in Solitary Confinement

An article in yesterday’s USA Today suggests that there’s been a widespread reduction in the use of solitary confinement in state prisons. Its author, Kevin Johnson, has done excellent reporting on solitary confinement in the past. And everything in this article is factually correct. But some of its generalizations and especially its headline (for which the author cannot be […]

The End of Mississippi's Notorious Supermax Unit

Even in a nation known for its draconian prison conditions and brutal lockdown units, the supermax portion of Mississippi’s state penitentiary stood out.  Critics and residents described it as a “horrific” and “wretched” place of “hopelessness and despair.” Or, as Chris Joyner described it last week in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger: Unit 32 was a nightmare, if sworn […]