For Thousands of People Trapped in Solitary Confinement Under COVID, Silence = Death. Please Help Us Break the Silence.

Dear Friends: Torture is not health care. Torture is not protection. Torture is not the way to survive a pandemic. Solitary confinement has been globally recognized as torture. Yet in response to COVID-19, 300,000 incarcerated individuals—a five-fold increase from the pre-pandemic population—have been forced to endure solitary confinement, and suffer the deep and lasting damage […]

Inside One Lawyer’s Quest to End Solitary Confinement

Last week, Rolling Stone published an article written by Solitary Watch staff writer Katie Rose Quandt about New Mexico civil rights attorney Matthew Coyte, whose has filed lawsuits against lawsuits against counties across the state for the damaging effects of solitary confinement in local jails. Coyte’s victories in these suits—and their hefty cost to local governments—is not […]

At San Quentin, a Desperate Man Goes on Hunger Strike to Protest Conditions in a COVID-19 Isolation Unit

Editor’s Note: Juan Moreno Haines is an award-winning journalist incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. In February, before the pandemic visibly hit the United States, Haines wrote a prescient piece that was published in The Appeal (and supported by a grant from the Solitary Confinement Reporting Project) documenting how San Quentin […]

“I Hope Our Daughters Will Not Be Punished”

By Justine van der Leun Editor’s Note: This powerful article was published in June on the website of Dissent Magazine, and is reprinted in part on Solitary Watch with the permission of the author and publisher. It provides a rare look at the experiences of women in solitary confinement, where the trauma of isolation and deprivation compound the […]

Voices From Solitary: Postcards From a Prison Pandemic

Incarcerated writer James Keown has been composing a series, “Postcards From a Prison Pandemic,” about the coronavirus’s impact on the medium-security MCI-Norfolk in Massachusetts, where he has spent the past two decades. Here we include excerpts from three of his posts. First, writing in April, he compared bracing for the impact of coronavirus to watching an […]

How to Survive Supermax

This week, The New Republic published a long essay by Arthur Longworth, which was written with the support of a grant from the Solitary Confinement Reporting Project, managed by Solitary Watch with funding from the Vital Projects Fund. Longworth has been incarcerated for 35 years and has spent long stretches in solitary. He is a 2019–2020 PEN America Writing for […]

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 […]