Digging Our Way Out of the Hole: Keeping Prisons Safe Without Solitary Confinement

By Jeremiah Bourgeois During his 27 years incarcerated in Washington State prisons, Jeremiah Bourgeois published several articles covering prison life and criminal justice reform, as a regular contributor to the Crime Report. For nearly a decade of his life, he was isolated in solitary confinement. Bourgeois was originally sentenced to life in prison for a crime he committed at the age of […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/5/20]

• The Georgetown Law Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, along with 68 current and former prosecutors and U.S. Department of Justice officials, filed a brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit calling for Dennis Hope to be released from solitary confinement in Texas. Hope has spent the last 26 years in […]

Seven Days in Solitary [8/10/20]

• Courthouse News Service reported that U.S. District Judge James Gwin ruled that confining people in what are officially general population cells for 23 hours a day does not violate the landmark 2015 settlement banning indefinite solitary confinement in California state prisons. While Samuel Miller, an attorney with Center for Constitutional Rights, argued that the […]

Fourteen Days in Solitary [7/6/20]

• NPR’s Joseph Shapiro produced a piece that ran on “All Things Considered” about the use of lockdowns and solitary confinement around the country in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The piece focused on a recent report from the national Unlock the Box campaign, which is based on research and analysis by Solitary Watch, and found that […]

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 […]

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 […]