Voices from Solitary: Fighting the Coronavirus in Prison with Transfers, Isolation, Threats, and Game Boys

The following piece is written by Christopher Blackwell, a 39-year-old man incarcerated at Washington State Reformatory in the Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC), serving the last 23 years of a 45-year sentence. Blackwell was first incarcerated at the age of 11 and by the time he was 18-years-old, he faced 16 charges. Since then, he has […]

Seven Days in Solitary [8/3/20]

• The Equal Justice Initiative reported that 28-year-old Charles Braggs died in solitary confinement at the St. Clair Correctional Facility in Alabama on July 27, three days after the segregation supervisor reportedly sprayed a chemical agent at Braggs. People held in the segregation unit at St. Clair have reported unsanitary conditions, unbearable heat, faulty locks, […]

Seven Days in Solitary [7/27/20]

• The Appeal published an article written by Victoria Law about the continued use of solitary confinement across New York State prisons, despite support in both houses of the state legislature for the passage of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act, which would cap the maximum stay in solitary at fifteen days. […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/15/20]

• According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, solitary confinement remains the only housing option for many incarcerated transgender people, unless they choose to stay in a general population of the opposite gender. Kamiah Kahanel, a transgender woman held in the male Nottoway Correctional Center in Virginia, was attacked by an incarcerated man, who cut her face and […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/27/20]

• The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the conclusion of a study, finding that African and Caribbean immigrants are held in solitary confinement six times more often than their non-Black counterparts in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities. Black immigrants represent four percent of all ICE detainees but make up 24 percent of stays […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/20/20]

• The Washington Post reported that attorneys visited the DC jail unannounced last week under a court order to inspect the conditions and health care precautions being taken. Of the 1,442 people held in DC custody, 452 people—or one-third—are held in isolation, where they are prohibited from showering or cleaning their cells. One of the […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/17/20]

• KIRO 7 reported that the family of Damaris Rodriguez, a 43-year-old mother of five who died in the South Correctional Entity Jail in Des Moines, Washington, in 2017, has released a video documenting her death. When Rodriguez’s husband called 911 to request an ambulance for her mental health episode, police took Rodriguez to the jail, where she was put in solitary confinement […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/13/20]

• The Associated Press reported that the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Mississippi NAACP, and the ACLU of Mississippi wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, calling for “immediate intervention” in the “acute and undeniable crises, with five deaths in just the last ten days, and a history of preventable deaths and injuries.” […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/14/19]

• The North Carolina Health News reported that Mecklenburg County jail has opened its first psychiatric unit, as a voluntary therapeutic alternative to solitary confinement for people with mental illness. Sergeant Charles Pearson said, “Some of them… they can’t function in another pod, they can’t be around a lot of people, they can’t follow orders. They […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/7/19]

• A groundbreaking and disturbing new study published by the JAMA Network found that people held in solitary confinement during their incarceration had a “significantly” higher likelihood of dying within the first year of their release back into the community. The study used data from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety tracking nearly 230,000 incarcerated people […]