A recently published study of people released from North Carolina prisons confirms what many have long suspected: solitary confinement increases the risk of premature death, even after release. Personal stories, like those of Kalief Browder’s isolation and subsequent suicide, are canaries in the coal mine. Underneath seemingly isolated events, researchers now find that solitary confinement is linked to more deaths after release from prison. These preventable deaths aren’t outliers; in the U.S., where the use of solitary confinement is widespread, an estimated 80,000 people are held...
Shine’s hunger strike is now in its second week and the next few days of pressure are critical! So WAT family: Contact Shane Tharrington and demand Shine's (Joseph Stewart #0802041) release from solitary even if you're not fasting in solidarity: firstname.lastname@example.org & 984-255-6100. The Call-to-Action gives you history and details to elaborate on. Tell Mr. Tharrington: "As a member of Witness Against Torture, I stand resolute against the use of solitary confinement. Re-classify Joseph "Shine White" Stewart because solitary confinement is torture. "
For nine and a half months, Lydia Thornton was locked into her cell nearly 24 hours a day. All of her meals were slid through a slot in the cell’s steel door. She was allowed outside to shower three times each week. Through cinderblock walls, she could hear women in adjoining cells screaming for hours on end. Sometimes they threatened to kill themselves, a threat often followed by an eerie silence. This was administrative segregation, or “ad seg,” in New Jersey’s prison system. Ad seg is one of the many official terms for solitary confinement; other systems call it punitive segregation, special housing units and keeplock.
I was just 17 years old when I was sent to solitary confinement in “Camp J,” one of the most severe lockdown units at one of America’s most brutal prisons, the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. I languished in solitary for 16 months. Back then I didn’t know that Louisiana was the solitary confinement capital of the world. All I knew was that I’d been convicted of a crime I didn’t commit, and I had to maintain my humanity in one of the most dehumanizing places on earth. It’s called “23 and 1” because you spend 23 hours alone in your cell, with one hour to take a shower or make a phone call, if allowed.
Chelsea Manning has been incarcerated for more than two weeks, since March 8. The lack of media coverage of her case is important to note since her questioning is about Freedom of the Press in the 21st Century. She is being questioned in an effort by the government to prosecute the publisher of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, for reporting stories that show US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, violations of human rights at the Guantanamo Bay prison,and the corruption of US foreign policy by corporate power. Wikileaks has published documents concerning many countries as well as US political figures.
Last year I wrote about a whistleblower from New England who took direct action to save a child’s life and who paid for it with his freedom. Marty Gottesfeld is now serving 10 years in prison for trying to save Justina Pelletier from abuse at the hands of her doctors at Children’s Hospital in Boston. At the age of 14, Justine developed searing stomach pain and inexplicable digestive problems. Her parents took her to a series of doctors until a metabolic geneticist at Tufts Medical Center diagnosed her with mitochondrial disease, a genetic malady that can lead to weakened muscles, neurological problems and dementia.
By Staff of Solitary Watch - Three men incarcerated in Massachusetts who were working with a prison reform caucus of state legislators have been thrown in solitary confinement, in an apparent retaliation against their activism and an attempt to disrupt further communications. In the middle of the night on March 23, 52-year-old Timothy Muise, 44-year-old Shawn Fisher, and 39-year-old Steven James were taken from their cells at the medium-security prison MCI Shirley, handcuffed, and transported by van to three separate prisons spread across the state..
By Bernardine Dohrn for Leiden Law Blog - Children are still being held in isolation in detention and correctional facilities across the United States. Children can be found curled up on cement floors in bare cells for 22 hours a day, and for days at a time. In order to use bathroom facilities in Los Angeles County Jail, young people must bang on their cell door and hope that someone comes to escort them to a bathroom. This week, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure placing broad restrictions on the use of solitary confinement for youth confined in detention pending trial.
By John Kiriakou for Other Worlds - A prisoner is kept in a small cell — usually 6 feet by 10 — alone, for 23 hours a day. For one hour a day, he or she may be taken into a small cage outside, with the opportunity to walk in circles before being taken back in. Even the outdoor cage can usually be opened and closed remotely. The idea is to keep the prisoner from having any human interaction. Those who’ve been through it call it a “living death.” The United Nations calls it torture. The practice is widespread in the United States. And until recently, it was applied even to juveniles in the federal prison.
By Brendan O'Connor for Gawker - Writing in the Washington Post, President Obama has announced a ban on the use of solitary confinement for juveniles and as a punishment for low-level infractions. Last summer, the president ordered Attorney General Loretta Lynch to conduct a review of solitary confinement’s overuse in U.S. prisons. The report is now complete and has been released to the public. The president writes that he will adopt its recommendations.
By Christopher Mathias for The Huffington Post - Tonja Fenton spent 270 consecutive days in a 6-by-10-foot cell, alone for 23 hours a day. She was there for three infractions of prison rules: purchasing socks and a hair dryer for another inmate, mailing a sample of prison food to court as part of an official complaint, and for allegedly falsely accusing a guard of sexual assault. For these apparent transgressions, Fenton, like so many prisoners in the state and across the country, found herself in punitive, solitary confinement.
By Alice and Staughton Lynd for Popular Resistance. Menard, IL - On September 23, 2015, at least 19 (and possibly as many as 22) men in Administrative Detention at the Menard Correctional Center began a hunger strike that ended on September 28. It was nearly a week after the hunger strike ended before we received any mail from them. The following is a composite account based on what they sent us, written on the first and last days of the hunger strike. Alice Lynd. Day 1, September 23, 2015 “On 9-23-15, after filing multiple grievances dealing with my diet tray, indeterminate seg hearings, yard conditions as well as living conditions, . . . and no response or action taken, I declared a peaceful hunger strike. . . . I declared my hunger strike only after trying multiple ways to bring relief to my issues which were and still are being completely ignored.”
By David Howard King in Gotham Gazette - Last November he United Nations committee on torture found that the United States was not in compliance with its Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment because of excessive use of solitary confinement in prisons across the country. The UN found that use of solitary confinement of over 15 days amounts to torture. Nearly a year later New York state has no limit on how long an inmate can be held in solitary--some have served decades. With increasing focus on the conditions in prisons, New York is struggling to address flaws in its prison system that has led to deaths and that advocates say does irreversible mental and physical damage to inmates.