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 [6/15/20]

• According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, solitary confinement remains the only housing option for many incarcerated transgender people, unless they choose to stay in a general population of the opposite gender. Kamiah Kahanel, a transgender woman held in the male Nottoway Correctional Center in Virginia, was attacked by an incarcerated man, who cut her face 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 [5/18/20]

• 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 […]

As COVID-19 Spreads Through Prisons, Solitary Confinement Is Used to Punish Whistleblowers and Suppress Protests

In early April, as reports of deaths from COVID-19 began to emerge from U.S. prisons and jails, Aaron Campell posted a desperate 20-minute Facebook Live video shot using a contraband cell phone. The video showed sick people gasping and coughing on his unit in the low-security federal FCI Elkton in Ohio, and one of the […]

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 […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/2/20]

• The Montgomery Advertiser reported that the families of four men who committed suicide in Alabama prisons in the past two years have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming they faced cruel and unusual punishment. The Southern Poverty Law Center says that the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) violates their own policies, including routine security […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/24/20]

• The Miami Herald reported that a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of 51-year-old Cheryl Weimar, claiming two male officers attacked the psychiatrically disabled woman held at Lowell Correctional Institution in Florida last August, leaving her paralyzed from the neck down. One of the alleged attackers, Ryan Dionne, remains on staff at the prison. […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/17/20]

• KIRO 7 reported that the family of Damaris Rodriguez, a 43-year-old mother of five who died in the South Correctional Entity Jail in Des Moines, Washington, in 2017, has released a video documenting her death. When Rodriguez’s husband called 911 to request an ambulance for her mental health episode, police took Rodriguez to the jail, where she was put in solitary confinement […]