Blog of Rights

This Is What Happens When the Secretary of Defense is in Charge of Your Medical Care

This Is What Happens When the Secretary of Defense is in Charge of Your Medical Care

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 10:08am

When Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on August 21, 2013, she was immediately worried that she would be denied desperately needed medical care for gender dysphoria.

So far, her worst fears of suffering without treatment have…

Solitary confinement cell

Ten Years Without Other People

By Nzinga A. Harrison, MD at 10:41am

Every time they throw my brother into solitary, he loses contact visits. When we visit, he's behind glass, or we can only see him via video. We can't hug him. He can't hold his new baby niece.

My brother, Kofi M. Ajabu, has been imprisoned…

I Was 16 and in Solitary Before I Ever Even Went to Trial

I Was 16 and in Solitary Before I Ever Even Went to Trial

By Reginald Dwayne Betts, Legal Intern, ACLU at 2:01pm

February is cold in Northern Virginia. It's even colder when you're in a cell alone, without a mattress, a blanket, a pillow, or a sheet.

When I walked into that cell in the basement of the Fairfax County Jail, my hands cuffed behind my back…

Prison corridor

CCA Continues to Cite Misleading Study It Funded

By Christopher Petrella, Researcher, U.C. Berkeley at 10:07am

As an academic, it’s my job to be a skeptic. 

That’s why, when two researchers at Temple University published a study last year claiming that for-profit prison companies can save states lots of money, I wanted to know how they’d…

Preying on the Poor: For-Profit Probation Edition

Preying on the Poor: For-Profit Probation Edition

By Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 3:48pm

Welcome to Alabama, the state of the never-ending seat belt ticket.

Hali Wood is 17. She's applied to work at several grocery stores in her home town of Columbiana, but none are hiring. A few months back, cops ticketed Hali for not wearing…

Vee Isn't the Scariest Villain in <em>Orange Is the New Black</em>. This Is.

Vee Isn't the Scariest Villain in Orange Is the New Black. This Is.

By Helen Vera, National Prison Project Fellow, ACLU at 10:22am

In the second season opener of Orange is the New Black, the show's heroine Piper uses her breakfast to paint a bird on the wall. A month alone in a cell the size of a parking spot has clearly messed with her head. Thirty minutes later, a row of naked…

Dee's Triumph: One of the Most Important Trans Victories You Never Heard Of

Dee's Triumph: One of the Most Important Trans Victories You Never Heard Of

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 2:43pm

On August 21, 1989, Dee Farmer, a black, transgender woman, sued prison officials for the "mental anguish, psychological damage, humil[i]ation, swollen face, cuts and bruises to her mouth and lips and a cut on her back, as well as some bleeding" that…

<em>Orange Is the New Black</em> Is Filmed at a Real Jail Flooded with Sewage

Orange Is the New Black Is Filmed at a Real Jail Flooded with Sewage

By Ujala Sehgal, Deputy Communications Director, New York Civil Liberties Union at 11:57am

Spoiler alert: This post is going to be disgusting.

Like the rest of you, we're incredibly excited to binge watch the second season of "Orange Is the New Black" this weekend. Who knew a show that shines an important spotlight on the hardships…

Hands in chains

The U.S. Government Treats Detained Immigrants Like Slaves

By Carl Takei, ACLU National Prison Project at 2:30pm

The New York Times reported this Sunday that one national employer relied on the labor of more than 60,000 immigrant workers last year to cook, clean, and do laundry while living behind locked doors and barbed wire. The employer paid them only $1 per…