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 […]

Voices from Solitary: Message from a Solitary Confinement Survivor for People Under Self-Quarantine

Mwalimu S. Shakur was in Pelican Bay State Prison’s notorious Security Housing Unit in 2013, when tens of thousands of people incarcerated throughout California launched a mass hunger strike. He and others were protesting the polices of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) around indefinite isolation in solitary confinement (also known as indeterminate […]

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 [8/26/19]

• According to the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), nine people held at Scotland Correctional Institution in North Carolina, calling themselves the Scotland 9, have been hunger striking for nearly a month since July 31. The strikers are calling for recreation to be re-instated, increased allowance of phone calls, an end to sleep deprivation practices, and […]

Seven Days in Solitary [7/22/19]

• Reuters (along with many other media outlets) reported that Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was sent to the U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum, or ADX, in Florence, Colorado, on Friday, after being sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years on drug trafficking and murder conspiracy charges. Guzmán said that the conditions he had faced at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, […]

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: Six by Ten

The following accounts have been excerpted from Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary, a recently published collection of thirteen oral history narratives from people impacted by solitary confinement. Part of the Voice of Witness series published by Haymarket Books, the volume was compiled and edited by ACLU attorney and campaign strategist Taylor Pendergrass and multimedia journalist […]

Voices from Solitary: I Am Enduring

The following account was published anonymously in the report Solitary at Southport, which was released last December by the Correctional Association of New York, a nonprofit organization that monitors conditions in the state’s prisons and advocates for a more humane and effective criminal justice system. Southport is one of New York’s two supermax prisons, and […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/21/18]

• According to the LAist, incarcerated people at Orange County’s Theo Lacy Facility in California began a hunger strike this week in protest of the conditions at the jail, including the use of solitary confinement. Philip Sloan, currently awaiting trial at the jail, said, “We are protesting the overall treatment—or mistreatment—of inmates of all ethnic backgrounds. […]

Seven Days in Solitary [9/30/18]

• As Dr. Christine Blasey Ford faced attacks and death threats for publicly accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Victoria Law published an article in Truthout highlighting the punishment, humiliation, and danger incarcerated survivors frequently face when they report sexual assaults in prison. Solitary confinement, under the guise of “protection” or as retaliation by prison […]

Voices from Solitary: A Concrete Death

Branton Noojin received an Honorable Mention for Nonfiction in PEN America’s 2018 Prison Writing Contest for authoring the following piece, “Solitary Confinement,” which is republished here by permission of the author and PEN. Noojin, currently serving a 100-year sentence for murder and voluntary manslaughter, has spent seven years in solitary confinement overall. Here, he provides a striking […]