“I Watch the Roaches and I Envy Them.” After 34 Years, Billy Blake Is Released from Solitary Confinement in New York

This article is published in partnership with New York Focus. William “Billy” Blake, whose 2013 essay “A Sentence Worse Than Death” introduced hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide to the soul-crushing reality of life in long-term solitary confinement, has been transferred to the general prison population in New York. In a brief phone call, Blake […]

New York State Passes the Nation's Strongest Anti-Solitary Legislation

This article was published in partnership with The Appeal. Andrew Cuomo is at the weakest point of his nearly four-decade political career. Through a month of simultaneous scandals—including an alleged cover-up of COVID-19 nursing home deaths and numerous allegations of sexual harassment and assault of younger female aides—the New York governor has fallen from pandemic darling and 2024 presidential hopeful to an outcast within his own […]

New York Supermax

Imagine row after row of cell doors that rarely open and row after row of people trapped behind those doors, in small cells, day after day. Imagine having to hold most of your conversations by shouting through your cell door at voices whose faces you cannot see; imagine trying to sleep as a cacophony of […]

Suicidal in Solitary

Solitary Watch’s James Ridgeway and Katie Rose Quandt have a new story out today in the Village Voice, about a young man with multiple psychological disabilities whose time in New York’s State prisons has included isolation, brutality–and a new six-year sentence for a suicide attempt.  = = = = = = = = = = […]

Voices from Solitary: Solitary Is a Living Death

The Correctional Association of New York recently released Voices from Clinton, a report detailing the abuse and isolation many of the incarcerated people at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, face. (See accompanying post.)  The report follows how punishments and brutality at an already notoriously violent prison have become worse since an escape made by […]

Widespread Brutality and Solitary Confinement Followed New York Prison Escape, Report Finds

One year after the high-profile escape of two men from Clinton Correctional Facility, the Correctional Association of New York, the state’s oldest prison reform organization, has released a scathing new report on the brutality that followed the escape. Voices from Clinton, documents cruelty often rising to the level of torture, and its subsequent cover up, in […]

How the New Settlement Will—and Will Not—Change Solitary Confinement in New York’s Prisons (Redux)

Last Thursday, a federal judge gave formal approval to the settlement in a class-action suit brought by thousands of people held in solitary confinement in New York’s prisons, represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union. The ruling codifies an agreement reached in December, after extended negotiations, between the plaintiffs and the New York State […]

How the Landmark Settlement Will—and Will Not—Change Solitary Confinement in New York’s Prisons  

The settlement announced Wednesday by the New York Civil Liberties Union in the Peoples v Fischer case brings broad, deep, and meaningful change to the way New York utilizes solitary confinement in its state prisons. It is a significant and hard-won victory for the plaintiffs, their attorneys, and the hundreds of advocates who have long […]