How Many People Are In Solitary Confinement in California's Prisons?

With the considerable attention focused on solitary confinement in California, Solitary Watch has observed inconsistent and widely varied statistics provided on the number of individuals housed in solitary in the state. We have reviewed and compiled statistics reported monthly by each prison through the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) COMPSTAT reports (Computer Statistics […]

Voices From Solitary: Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Was "the Only Way to Get the Word Out" About Prison Abuses

The following is excerpted from a letter from Alfred Sandoval, a Pelican Bay SHU inmate and one of the original leaders and participants in this summer’s three-week hunger strike. Addressed to “All Media, Prisons Supporters, etc.,” it was written on June 26th, a few days before the strike began. Sandoval describes his own experiences, and outlines a series of abuses […]

"Pawns in a Failed Experiment": Testimony of Dr. Craig Haney on Solitary Confinement

Dr. Craig Haney, Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, testified before the California Assembly’s Committee on Public Safety on August 23rd, 2011 regarding the issue of California’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). Dr. Haney provides a historical overview of the use of solitary confinement, litigation and research on solitary confinement, and […]

Voices from Solitary: Gang "Validation" and Permanent Isolation in California Prisons

In prisons throughout the country, perceived gang membership is one of the leading reasons for placement in solitary confinement. In California alone, hundreds of prisoners are in Security Housing Units (SHUs) because they have been “validated” as gang members. The validation procedure used by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) employs such criteria as tattoos, reading materials, […]