Seven Days in Solitary [6/22/20]

• On the Last Week Tonight show, John Oliver discussed the alarmingly high rates of coronavirus in prisons and jails across the U.S., as the New York Times reported that the five largest known outbreaks of the virus are in correctional facilities. Oliver explained that prisons and jails are not equipped to handle public health crises and […]

How to Survive Supermax

This week, The New Republic published a long essay by Arthur Longworth, which was written with the support of a grant from the Solitary Confinement Reporting Project, managed by Solitary Watch with funding from the Vital Projects Fund. Longworth has been incarcerated for 35 years and has spent long stretches in solitary. He is a 2019–2020 PEN America Writing for […]

Voices from Solitary: Satan's Domain

The following piece was written by Tashon Burke, a 28-year-old African American man struggling with mental illness, who estimates he has spent nearly eight years in solitary confinement throughout his incarceration. This past February, Burke was transferred from the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) at SCI Houtzdale in Pennsylvania to the SCI Fayette Special Management Unit […]

Fourteen Days in Solitary [6/8/20]

• The New York Daily News reported that prosecutors for the Bronx District Attorney will not pursue criminal charges related to the death of Layleen Polanco, a 27-year-old Afro-Latinx, transgender woman, last June. Polanco died from an epileptic seizure while being held in punitive segregation, or solitary confinement, at Rikers Island jail in New York […]

Seven Days in Solitary [5/25/20]

• The LA Times reported that 74-year-old Chuong Woong Ahn, an immigrant from South Korea held at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Mesa Verde Processing Center in California, died by suicide on May 17. Lawyers had requested Ahn’s release and his sister had prepared for him to live with her upon release. Despite Ahn’s […]

Seven Days in Solitary [5/18/20]

• The Philadelphia Inquirer published the “Lockdown Diaries,” a set of writings from incarcerated people during Pennsylvania’s longest ever statewide lockdown. Instituted because of the coronavirus pandemic, the lockdown basically places everyone in the prison system in indefinite solitary confinement in an effort to control contagion (despite the existence of more humane and effective alternatives). Accompanied by illustrations created […]

Seven Days in Solitary [5/11/20]

• The Texas Tribune reported that of the people in prison who have been tested for the coronavirus, 70 percent have tested positive. Only one percent of the prison population, or 1,700 people, has been tested but the percentage of positive results far outweighs the ten percent of Texas residents throughout the whole state whose […]

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 […]

Voices from Solitary: Coronavirus Panic in a Quarantined Washington State Prison

John Hovey, a 52-year-old man serving three consecutive life sentences at Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington State, wrote the following piece in March 2020. Hovey has been incarcerated since the age of sixteen. In this piece, he describes the process of increased restrictions upon incarcerated people, including lockdowns for units that may have been exposed to […]

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 [4/13/20]

• The Appeal reported that the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola has reopened the notorious solitary confinement unit Camp J to house incarcerated people infected with COVID-19. The unit was known as “the dungeon” for its starkly inhumane conditions. Fate Winslow, held at the Angola prison, said, “We are still packed in like sardines. The prison […]