Voices from Solitary: In Prisons, Mass Solitary Confinement Turns Quarantine Into Punishment

John Hovey, a 54-year-old man who has been incarcerated since the age of sixteen, and is currently serving a life sentences at Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington State, wrote the following piece in March 2021. He describes his experience of solitary confinement as “quarantine” during the COVID-19 pandemic. His entire unit was moved to the […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/27/21]

• An ACLU press release condemns the use of solitary confinement in ICE detention, citing a recently published report from the Department of Homeland Security on the lack of oversight and transparency for isolation policies in ICE facilities nationwide. The ACLU outlines how ICE frequently fails to document its use of solitary, and fails to follow […]

Seven Days in Solitary [10/6/21]

• On September 30th, the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) claimed that it will end the use of disciplinary segregation as punishment in prisons after determining that most individuals moved to solitary were there for nonviolent offenses, reports the Seattle Times. Although in the DOC Secretary’s statement she justified the policy change saying, “the science […]

Seven Days in Solitary [8/11/21]

•  A study conducted in 2017 concluded that recent incrementalist reforms in Washington state prisons’ Intensive Management Units, where people are held for 22 hours a day in isolation, failed to alleviate the suffering of solitary confinement. In this study, published in the journal Health Justice, interviewers spoke with 183 people, both incarcerated people and staff, […]

Voices from Solitary: Everyday Torture

Christopher Blackwell, 40, is serving a 45-year prison sentence in Washington State. He co-founded Look 2 Justice, an organization that provides civic education to system-impacted communities and actively works to pass sentencing and policy reform legislation. When the COVID pandemic hit his prison, he was on the same unit as Tim Pauley (who has given […]

A Month in Solitary [5/3/21]

• Brian Nelson spent 23 years of his 28-year sentence in solitary confinement, many of them in the notorious Tamms supermax state prison in Illinois, which has since been closed. After his release, Nelson dedicated himself to advocating for the rights of people in prison through his work with the Uptown People’s Law Center in […]

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, […]

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 […]

Seven Days in Solitary [12/24/18]

• The East Bay Times reported that a federal class-action lawsuit filed Friday claims two jails in Alameda County, California, violate the constitutional rights of the individuals held there through the use of “safety cells.” These cells are used for people who express suicidal thoughts, who are stripped naked, given a smock, and isolated without […]