Seven Days in Solitary [8/5/19]

• According to CNN, the cause of 27-year-old Layleen Polanco’s death in June on the transgender “restricted housing unit” at Rikers Island in New York has been revealed as an epileptic seizure. Attorney David Shanies said that Polanco had suffered several seizures at Rikers and corrections officials were aware of her condition. “When an epileptic person […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/17/19]

• In a Spanish-language broadcast, Univision reported that a hunger strike in support of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act has reached 29 participants. The advocates gathered outside the office of New York Senate Majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, calling for the HALT bill to be brought to a vote. The HALT bill currently has […]

Seven Days in Solitary [6/3/19]

• According to NPR, the family of Terrill Thomas, a 38-year-old man who died of dehydration in April 2016 in the Milwaukee County Jail, will receive $6.75 million in a settlement with the county and Armor Correctional Health Services, the company operating the jail’s health care at the time. The lawsuit says, “They forced him to […]

Voices from Solitary: We Go Through Hell Here

In the following piece, Ryan Brown describes the conditions he faced during his three years in solitary confinement at Missouri’s Jefferson City Correctional Center. According to the most recent data from the Prison Policy Initiative, 32,000 people are currently incarcerated in the Missouri state prison system, with about an additional 20,000 people held in local […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/29/19]

• The Appeal reported that incarcerated hunger strikers protesting the use of solitary confinement and “retaliatory transfers” have been kept in appalling conditions at Holman Correctional Facility in Alabama. An incarcerated organizer described what happened when the water was shut off in cells: “They was forced to stay in a cell with urine in the commode […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/15/19]

• The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the Georgia Advocacy Office and the Southern Center for Human Rights filed a lawsuit, claiming that women with psychiatric disabilities reside isolated in “unimaginable conditions,” including pools of urine, food and feces-smeared floors, a smell of vomit, and overflowing toilets. Attorney Sarah Geraghty from the Southern Center said, “It […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/25/19]

• According to WHYY public radio, neurological researchers Michael Zigmond and Richard Smeyne have recently aimed their studies at understanding the physical impairment of the brain caused by solitary confinement. While the damaging psychological effects of isolation have been widely examined, Smeyne says that physical damage might prove more powerful than psychological damage in legal proceedings. The researchers’ […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/11/19]

• As temperatures in New York dropped to ten degrees last week, the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn—a facility operated by the federal Bureau of Prisons that houses 1,600 mostly pretrial individuals—lost power and administrators locked down the facility for several days, leaving many detained individuals without heat, lighting, warm meals, clean clothing, medical […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/21/19]

• On January 16, Paul Ford died in his solitary cell at Kilby Prison, the second incarcerated person in the custody of Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) to commit suicide this year. Although Ford had been diagnosed with a mood disorder and had attempted suicide several times before while in prison, his mental health screening for placement […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/14/19]

• The Charlotte Observer reported that the new sheriff of North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County, Garry McFadden, has formally closed the disciplinary detention unit at the county jail, which used to hold teenagers in solitary for 23 hours a day and deny them access to phone calls, visitors, books, and classes. McFadden explained his reasoning for […]