Blog of Rights

David
Fathi

David Fathi is the Director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project, which brings challenges to conditions of confinement in prisons, jails, and other detention facilities and works to end US overreliance on incarceration. From 2007 to 2010 he was Director of the US Program at Human Rights Watch, which works to defend the rights of particularly vulnerable groups in the United States.

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Will Nelson Mandela's Solitary Confinement Inspire Positive Change?

Will Nelson Mandela's Solitary Confinement Inspire Positive Change?

By David Fathi, National Prison Project at 3:55pm
It's a short walk from my hotel here in Cape Town to the waterfront. From there you can see Robben Island, the notorious prison where Nelson Mandela and other freedom fighters were incarcerated during the darkest days of apartheid.
Three Questions Senator Durbin and the DOJ Need to Ask about Federal Solitary

Three Questions Senator Durbin and the DOJ Need to Ask about Federal Solitary

By David Fathi, National Prison Project at 3:49pm

On any given day, more than 15,000 federal prisoners are in "the hole."

With a population of over 215,000 prisoners, the Federal Bureau of Prisons is the nation's largest prison system. At a Congressional hearing chaired by Sen. Dick Durbin…

UN Prisoners’ Rights Meeting: US Puts the Brakes on Progress

UN Prisoners’ Rights Meeting: US Puts the Brakes on Progress

By David Fathi, National Prison Project at 1:48pm

The U.N. meeting in Buenos Aires on uniform rules for the treatment of prisoners, which concluded last week, was a significant step toward progressive reform, as the resulting Draft Report makes clear. Unfortunately, due in large part to positions…

US at UN Prisoners’ Rights Meeting: Progress, but Still Wrong on Solitary Confinement

US at UN Prisoners’ Rights Meeting: Progress, but Still Wrong on Solitary Confinement

By David Fathi, National Prison Project at 5:37pm

Yesterday I wrote about the ACLU’s efforts to ensure that the U.S. government is properly engaged at a U.N.

U.S. Must Support Progressive Changes to Prison Human Rights Standards

U.S. Must Support Progressive Changes to Prison Human Rights Standards

By David Fathi, National Prison Project at 1:01pm

I’m writing from Buenos Aires, where I’m representing the ACLU at the Inter-Governmental Expert Meeting (IGEM) on the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.  Established in 1955, the SMRs are the leading international…

ACLU v. CCA: The Private Prison Debate Challenge

ACLU v. CCA: The Private Prison Debate Challenge

By David Fathi, National Prison Project & David Shapiro, ACLU National Prison Project at 3:37pm

Even as for-profit facilities lock up nearly 130,000 prisoners and take in billions of taxpayer dollars each year, these prisons remain shrouded in secrecy. The time has come for a robust public debate about the role of private prisons in our society.   

That’s…

Too young to shave, but old enough for solitary

Too young to shave, but old enough for solitary

By David Fathi, National Prison Project at 5:24pm

As any parent knows, teenagers are different than adults. This common-sense observation is backed by hard scientific evidence; we know that an adolescent’s brain continues to grow and develop well into his or her twenties. The fact…

Solitary Confinement in Arizona: Cruel and Unusual

Solitary Confinement in Arizona: Cruel and Unusual

By David Fathi, National Prison Project at 1:09pm

A class action lawsuit filed today by the ACLU, along with the Prison Law Office, the Arizona Center for Disability Law, and the law firms Jones Day and Perkins Coie, alleges that the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) houses thousands of…

Continuing the Fight for Civil Rights and Prisoners' Rights

Continuing the Fight for Civil Rights and Prisoners' Rights

By David Fathi, National Prison Project at 3:46pm

In the United States, the freedom struggle of Black people and the struggle for prisoners' rights have long been intertwined.

Turning the Corner on Solitary Confinement?

By David Fathi, National Prison Project at 3:22pm

This week, Colorado state Sen. Morgan Carroll and Rep. Claire Levy introduced a bill that would substantially limit the use of solitary confinement in the state's prisons. S.B. 176 would restrict solitary confinement of prisoners with mental illness…

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