Blog of Rights

Guantánamo Prisoner's Memoirs Offer Rare First-Person Account of Torture

Guantánamo Prisoner's Memoirs Offer Rare First-Person Account of Torture

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 2:31pm
A detailed and harrowing first-person narrative of a prisoner's experiences in Guantánamo is available to the public for the first time: Slate today published a three-part series of excerpts from The Guantánamo Memoirs of Mohamedou Ould Slahi. The excerpts were culled from a manuscript hundreds of pages in length, which Slahi provided his attorneys, a pro bono team of ACLU and other lawyers. After being classified for years, Slahi's memoirs – of arrest, rendition, torture, and imprisonment without charge or trial – are finally seeing the light of day, albeit with some redactions.
The Sad State of Solitary in Florida: Is There Hope for this Human Rights Violation?

The Sad State of Solitary in Florida: Is There Hope for this Human Rights Violation?

By Julie Ebenstein, Staff Attorney, Voting Rights Project, ACLU at 3:59pm

The world got a glimpse this week into how the United States treats those we lock in solitary confinement, when the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights heard ACLU testimonies on how our treatment of vulnerable prisoners violates international…

Two Frustrated Federal Judges Show Us How to Have a More Fair and Effective Justice System

Two Frustrated Federal Judges Show Us How to Have a More Fair and Effective Justice System

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 3:52pm

In 2010, 22-year-old Jamel Dossie served as a middle-man in a series of hand-to-hand crack sales. After three transactions involving a federal informant, Mr. Dossie had handed over – “sold” – a total of 88.1 grams, or 3.1 ounces,…

Reproductive Health Locked Up

By Sara Mullen, ACLU of Pennsylvania & Carol Petraitis, ACLU of Pennsylvania at 10:50am

In the past 25 years, the number of women and girls caught up in the criminal justice system has skyrocketed. Many have been swept up in the War on Drugs and subject to punitive sentencing policies for nonviolent offenses.

In Pennsylvania,…

Confronting California's Abuse of Solitary

Confronting California's Abuse of Solitary

By Helen Vera, National Prison Project Fellow, ACLU at 11:52am

Solitary confinement can eat away at someone's mind, making mental illness worse and leaving many people depressed, suicidal, hopeless or hallucinating. It's no place for individuals with mental illness.

In 1995, a federal court in California…

The Solitary Confinement Scorecard

The Solitary Confinement Scorecard

By Hilary Krase, ACLU National Prison Project at 1:06pm

Over 30,000 prisoners in California have refused food to protest it. Innocent men freed from death row report that it drives people insane, killing everything inside of them before they ever see the execution gurney. Architects have called for…

The Iranian Government locked me in solitary confinement for 410 days. Today, my thoughts are with the hunger strikers.

The Iranian Government locked me in solitary confinement for 410 days. Today, my thoughts are with the hunger strikers.

By Sarah Shourd, Contributing Editor, Solitary Watch at 1:10pm

Sitting in a nearly empty cell – a metal sink, the blank stare of the white walls, fluorescent lights that never turn off – all you have are your own thoughts. Sometimes they race through your head like freight trains; other times a thought can…

New Pope Washes the Feet of 12 Kids in Prison: An Easter Reminder for the U.S.

New Pope Washes the Feet of 12 Kids in Prison: An Easter Reminder for the U.S.

By Ajmel Quereshi, Staff Counsel, ACLU at 10:34am

Last week, while Christians around the world were preparing to celebrate Easter, the newly elected Pope Francis visited Casal Del Marmo...

New Federal Standards Offer Unprecedented Protections to LGBTI Prisoners

New Federal Standards Offer Unprecedented Protections to LGBTI Prisoners

By Leslie Cooper, LGBT Project at 2:25pm

Yesterday the Department of Justice (DOJ) released the long-awaited National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape. These standards – the first of their kind—create an historic opportunity to put an end to the epidemic of sexual abuse in prison, which disproportionately affects prisoners who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or have intersex conditions (LGBTI).

In Yet Another Act of Courage, Chelsea Manning Comes Out

In Yet Another Act of Courage, Chelsea Manning Comes Out

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 4:23pm

Yesterday, Private Manning was sentenced to serve 35 years in military prison. After sentencing, Manning issued a statement, in which she bravely called for a more just society and stated that if she is not pardoned, she "will serve [her] time knowing…