Seven Days in Solitary [6/22/20]

• On the Last Week Tonight show, John Oliver discussed the alarmingly high rates of coronavirus in prisons and jails across the U.S., as the New York Times reported that the five largest known outbreaks of the virus are in correctional facilities. Oliver explained that prisons and jails are not equipped to handle public health crises and […]

Seven Days in Solitary [3/9/20]

• NBC4 reported that the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), a federal jail in New York City, was locked down for over a week while officials searched for a gun that had allegedly been smuggled into the jail by an officer. The gun was found late last Thursday in an individual’s cell, but the Chief of […]

Seven Days in Solitary [1/5/19]

• The Hill published an opinion piece by Mark Levin, the Vice President of Criminal Justice Policy for the Right on Crime Initiative, recapping progress from prison administrators and legislators in the last few years that has restricted the use of solitary confinement. Levin cites Colorado as an example of success, after the state reduced […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/25/19]

• The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections agreed to a settlement with the Abolitionist Law Center (ALC) and the ACLU of Pennsylvania last week that will end indefinite solitary confinement for people held on death row in the state. The 136 people with death sentences will now have over 42 hours […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/28/19]

• According to the Hartford Courant, Judge Stefan Underhill has called the conditions “unconstitutional” for people held on Connecticut’s death row. While Connecticut has abolished capital punishment, a “compromise law” passed in 2012 mandated that in the absence of the death penalty, those sentenced to death must be held in solitary confinement for the rest of […]

Seven Days in Solitary [8/5/19]

• According to CNN, the cause of 27-year-old Layleen Polanco’s death in June on the transgender “restricted housing unit” at Rikers Island in New York has been revealed as an epileptic seizure. Attorney David Shanies said that Polanco had suffered several seizures at Rikers and corrections officials were aware of her condition. “When an epileptic person […]

Seven Days in Solitary [7/8/19]

• The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a class action lawsuit recently, alleging that Florida’s use of solitary confinement constitutes a violation of the 8th Amendment, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. About 10,000 people—or 10 percent—of those held in Florida prisons currently live in solitary, which is double the national average. Admire […]

Seven Days in Solitary [7/1/19]

• The Advocate reported on the release of a report by Solitary Watch, the ACLU of Louisiana, and the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans, which reflects the survey responses of 709 people in solitary confinement in Louisiana state prisons. Over 77 percent who responded said that they had been held in solitary for […]

Seven Days in Solitary [4/8/19]

• According to WBRC, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released their investigation of the Alabama Department of Corrections, which found “violations are severe, systemic, and exacerbated by serious deficiencies in staffing and supervision.” The report found a “high level of violence that is too common, cruel, of an unusual nature, and pervasive” and “the use […]

Seven Days in Solitary [2/25/19]

• According to WHYY public radio, neurological researchers Michael Zigmond and Richard Smeyne have recently aimed their studies at understanding the physical impairment of the brain caused by solitary confinement. While the damaging psychological effects of isolation have been widely examined, Smeyne says that physical damage might prove more powerful than psychological damage in legal proceedings. The researchers’ […]

Seven Days in Solitary [8/5/18]

• According to the Associated Press, lawyers for the Southern Center for Human Rights wrote a letter to Georgia corrections officials this week calling for an end to the state’s practice of releasing individuals directly from solitary confinement back into society. The lawyers, currently representing individuals held at the Special Management Unit (SMU) at the […]