James Ridgeway, 1936–2021

Dear Friends: We are heartbroken to announce the passing of Solitary Watch’s founder and co-director, James Ridgeway. Jim died on Saturday at the age of 84, after a brief illness. Some of you were fortunate enough to know him personally. Anyone who has visited this site, read his other reporting, or learned about the travesty of solitary confinement—which […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/15/21]

• A US District Judge ordered the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) to “stop retaliation and threats of retaliation against incarcerated people” for participating in a lawsuit regarding the department’s use of solitary confinement. The ongoing lawsuit, which was filed in 2019 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Florida Legal Services, and the Florida Justice Institute, […]

At San Quentin, the Response to COVID-19 Brings More Isolation and Suffering to People with Mental Illness

The following piece is written by Juan Moreno Haines, an award-winning journalist incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison. Haines is an editor at the San Quentin News, a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, a past recipient of a Solitary Confinement Reporting Project grant, and a Contributing Writer at Solitary Watch. Since the COVID-19 […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/8/21]

• Brie Williams, Professor of Medicine at University of California San Francisco and director of the group AMEND, and UCSF medical school student Amanda Li wrote in the Public Health Post about a study their team conducted. The study found that “the prevalence of high blood pressure was 31% higher among those held in solitary confinement.” […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/1/21]

• The Atlantic published the first article in what will be a five-part series by Solitary Watch’s Jean Casella, Katie Rose Quandt, and Sarah Shourd, on the epidemic of deaths in U.S. jails. The article, written by Shourd, tells the story of two families in California who called the police for help when their sons […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/25/21]

• The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the ACLU of Virginia reached a settlement with the Virginia Department of Corrections in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Nicolas Reyes. Reyes, an incarcerated man with mental illness, “allegedly was held in solitary confinement for more than a dozen years” because he does not speak English. Per the […]

A Last Word on Solitary Confinement for 2020—and a Last Chance to Double Your Donation to Solitary Watch

Dear Donors, Readers, and Friends: We founded Solitary Watch more than a decade ago with the belief that accurate information and authentic storytelling could serve as powerful antidotes to ignorance and injustice, and help bring change even to a powerful and secretive institution like prisons. We started out as a small, shoestring operation—which to a […]