Blog of Rights

 A Living Nightmare in America's Paradise

A Living Nightmare in America's Paradise

By Eric Balaban, ACLU National Prison Project at 3:12pm
Imagine being charged with a crime, going to trial, being found not guilty by reason of insanity, but remaining behind bars for years. You are denied access to a psychiatrist to treat your serious mental illness; you grow more acutely ill; and you daily face the threat of violence at the hands of other prisoners.
"A Picture of Such Horror as Should Be Unrealized Anywhere in the Civilized World"

"A Picture of Such Horror as Should Be Unrealized Anywhere in the Civilized World"

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 1:27pm

A federal court judge has put a stop to the state of Mississippi's practice of putting kids convicted as adults in solitary confinement.

Supreme Court Ruling a Blow to Genetic Privacy

Supreme Court Ruling a Blow to Genetic Privacy

By Michael Risher, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California at 5:29pm

The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision upholding Maryland's arrestee DNA testing law is a serious blow to genetic privacy. The ruling allows the police to seize the DNA of innocent Americans who have never been convicted of any sort of crime, without a search…

ACLU to United Nations: Solitary Confinement Violates Human Rights

ACLU to United Nations: Solitary Confinement Violates Human Rights

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 2:31pm

The ACLU's Amy Fettig appeared before the U.N. Human Rights Council today to condemn the use of solitary confinement in the United States, following a written statement we submitted last month urging the Council to address this widespread violation…

Tamms "Supermax" Prison, with its Inhumane and Ridiculously Expensive Solitary Confinement Practices, is Officially a Thing of the Past!

Tamms "Supermax" Prison, with its Inhumane and Ridiculously Expensive Solitary Confinement Practices, is Officially a Thing of the Past!

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project at 11:00am

Here’s to starting the New Year right. The notorious Tamms Correctional Center in Illinois, with its practice of housing human beings alone in cells for 22-24 hours per day with little or no human interaction or outside stimulus, officially shut its doors today.

Scott Panetti

Texas Wants to Kill This Mentally Ill Man

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:47am

Wearing a cowboy costume and a purple bandana, Scott Panetti defended himself at his capital trial in Texas without counsel, where he tried to call the Pope, J.F.K, and Jesus Christ to the witness stand. In Tennessee, Richard Taylor represented himself…

Three Years in a Cage. No Charges and No Lawyer.

Three Years in a Cage. No Charges and No Lawyer.

By Brandon Buskey, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 1:01pm

Octavious Burks has been waiting for 10 months.

He's locked in a jail in Scott County, Mississippi. He hasn't been formally charged. He hasn't been assigned an attorney.

This is a recurring nightmare for Octavious: The same thing happened…

Death Row is Not a "Constitution-Free Zone"

Death Row is Not a "Constitution-Free Zone"

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:58pm

Alfredo Prieto sits alone 23 hours a day in a locked, seventy-square-feet box. The lights never go out.

According to trial records, Prieto grew up in tough circumstances in war-torn El Salvador, escaped with his family to California. He became…

International Body Slams U.S. Solitary Confinement Practices

International Body Slams U.S. Solitary Confinement Practices

By Ian Kysel, Aryeh Neier Fellow, ACLU Human Rights Program at 5:07pm

There are more than 80,000 people in solitary confinement in the United States. Last week, the widespread misuse and abuse of solitary confinement in jails and prisons across the country drew international condemnation when the Inter-American Commission…

The Reign of Terror Ends at LA County Jails

The Reign of Terror Ends at LA County Jails

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project & Peter J. Eliasberg, ACLU of Southern California at 3:49pm

For many years there's been an entrenched culture of savage deputy-on-inmate violence Los Angeles County Jails – violence as extreme as anything we've seen in decades of investigating some of the most notorious jails and prisons in the nation.

Beatings…