The Hidden History of Solitary Confinement in New Jersey's Control Units

Guest Post by Bonnie Kerness Editor’s Note: As coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Project, Bonnie Kerness is a leading voice for humanitarian reform of U.S. prisons, jails, and detention centers. Kerness is also a pioneer in raising awareness about the use of prolonged solitary confinement, and in uncompromisingly identifying the practice […]

Bonnie Kerness: Pioneer in the Struggle Against Solitary Confinement

Guest Post by Lance Tapley In 1986 Ojore Lutalo, a black revolutionary in the Trenton State Prison — now the New Jersey State Prison — wrote to Bonnie Kerness’s American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) office in Newark. His letter described the extreme isolation and other brutalities in the prison’s Management Control Unit, which he called a “prison […]

Voices from Solitary: Behind Enemy Lines

The artist Ojore Lutalo was released from Trenton State Penitentiary in August 2009 by way of a court order. He maxed out after 28 year. 22 of which were spent in the Management Control Unit (solitary confinement). Lutalo was imprisoned after an armed robbery conviction, but he was held in the MCU because his political beliefs–his association with the with […]

83-Year-Old Activist Priest Held in Solitary Confinement in Federal Prison

Jesuit priest and peace activist Father Bill Bichsel is reportedly being held in solitary confinement at SeaTac Federal Detention Center south of Seattle. According to friends, Bichsel has not eaten solid food since January 10 in protest of his treatment. Fr. Bichsel, known to friends and colleagues as “Bix,” is a member of the Disarm Now Plowshares […]

"God's Own Warden": Inside Angola Prison

Editor’s Note: The latest issue of Mother Jones magazine includes James Ridgeway’s long article on Burl Cain, warden of the nation’s largest prison, and possibly its most notorious. The former slave plantation is known for the fact that 90 percent of its more than 5,000 prisoners will die behind bars, and also for holding two […]

Hunger Strike in the Supermax: Pelican Bay Prisoners Protest Conditions in Solitary Confinement

As Americans prepare to celebrate Independence Day, inmates in solitary confinement at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison are standing up for their rights in the only way they can–by going on a hunger strike. The prisoners, who are being held in long-term and often permanent isolation, have sworn to refuse food until conditions are improved in Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit […]

Voices from Solitary: On Solitary Confinement and Finding Humanity

Susan Crane is part of Plowshares movement, which protests nuclear weapons through nonviolent civil disobedience at military bases and other nuclear facilities. She is a member of the “Disarm Now Plowshares Five,” who were arrested in November 2009 after they clandestinely entered the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base outside Seattle, the largest nuclear weapons storage facility in […]

Confronting Torture in U.S. Prisons: A Q&A With Solitary Watch

The following interview with James Ridgeway and Jean Casella, conducted by Angola 3 News, appeared earlier this week on Alternet (where you can read the introduction, which includes background on the upcoming prisoner hunger strike at Pelican Bay.) Angola 3 News: How did you first become interested in the issue of solitary confinement and ultimately become inspired to start […]