Voices from Solitary: Oscar Wilde's Cry from the Depths

 In 1895, Oscar Wilde, who was arguably Britain’s most famous literary and cultural figure, was sentenced to two years’ hard labor in solitary confinement for the crime of “acts of gross indecency with other males.” He served most of that time in Reading Gaol, subject of his famous ballad.  In petitioning the government for his release, Wilde wrote that “while […]

Lessons from Solitary

Guest Post by David Chura Editors’ Note: David Chura has spent forty years working with–and writing about–“kids in the system”: at-risk children in foster care, group homes, homeless shelters, psych hospitals, drug rehab, special education, and alternative high schools, as well as in juvenile and adult corrections facilities. (Chura’s blog is kidsinthesystem.wordpress.com.) As a teacher in […]

Solitary Watch Watches National Geographic's Experiment in Solitary Confinement

As we wrote earlier, it’s hard to say whether the National Geographic Channel’s treatment of solitary confinement will do more harm than good. In addition to an upcoming episode of “Explorer” on the subject, the NG Channel is hosting an “experiment” that promises to provide a “live window into the solitary experience“: Three subjects spend a week in faux lockdown cells […]

Solitary Confinement: Coming Live to a Computer Near You

In what its hosts promise will be a “Live Window Into the Solitary Confinement Experience,” three “everyman volunteers” will place themselves in model solitary confinement cells, where the public can watch them on live streaming video. This “experience,” which begins today at 8 a.m., is taking place in conjunction with the upcoming broadcast of “Explorer: Solitary Confinement,” an episode […]

Ask Shamu: The U.S. Tortures Both Human and Animal Prisoners

The terms “torture” and “solitary confinement” have surfaced over and over again in articles and commentaries about Tilikum, the captive killer whale who drowned his trainer at Florida’s SeaWorld last month. For the most part, the authors of these pieces have sought mercy for Tilikum. While the six-ton orca had been implicated in two previous human deaths, they argue, Tilikum’s torturous life in […]

Johnny Cash: Solitary Man

Yesterday would have been Johnny Cash’s 78th birthday. Prison Law Blog dug out this NPR story from 2005 on Cash’s famous visit to Folsom Prison in 1968, which includes a recording of him singing “Folsom Prison Blues” for an audience of inmates. Listen to it here. Since that recording was made, the U.S. prison population has increased seven-fold, […]