Solitary Confinement

Long-term solitary confinement is cruel, expensive and ineffective. Isolation creates and exacerbates symptoms of mental illness in prisoners, undermining successful re-entry into society and jeopardizing public safety. Meanwhile, states that have reduced their solitary populations have saved millions and seen violence plummet.

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 2:26pm
Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.3 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history. And yet, our criminal justice system has failed on every count: public safety, fairness and cost-effectiveness. Across the country, the criminal justice reform conversation is heating up. Each week, we feature our some of the most exciting and relevant news in overincarceration discourse that we’ve spotted from the previous week. Check back weekly for our top picks.
Presbyterians Speak Out Against Solitary Confinement

Presbyterians Speak Out Against Solitary Confinement

At its meeting in Pittsburgh earlier this month, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted by an overwhelming margin to accept a resolution recognizing that the use of solitary confinement can be a form of torture.

Ending Solitary Confinement – The Dangers of Isolation for LGBTI Prisoners and Detainees

Ending Solitary Confinement – The Dangers of Isolation for LGBTI Prisoners and Detainees

By Patrick DePoy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:33pm

Recently, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Constitution Subcommittee held a landmark hearing on solitary confinement.  The goal of the hearing was to comprehensively examine and reassess the overuse of solitary confinement in federal and…

Closing Tamms Supermax: A Chance To Reevaluate Solitary Confinement

Closing Tamms Supermax: A Chance To Reevaluate Solitary Confinement

By Ed Yohnka, ACLU of Illinois at 5:43pm

This is a good week in Illinois. Yesterday, Gov. Pat Quinn announced that he would close the “supermax” facility at Tamms Correctional Facility, where prisoners are held in long-term solitary confinement.

An Innocent Man’s Tortured Days on Texas’s Death Row

An Innocent Man’s Tortured Days on Texas’s Death Row

By Anthony Graves, who spent years in solitary confinement on Texas’ death row before being proven innocent in 2010. Yesterday he testified about the experience at a Senate subcommittee hearing on solitary confinement. His website is www.anthonybelieves.com.

On…

Senators To Hear Dangers of Long-Term Solitary Confinement

Senators To Hear Dangers of Long-Term Solitary Confinement

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 10:53am

The first-ever (and long-overdue) congressional hearing on solitary confinement convenes tomorrow, June 19, at 10 a.m. before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. You’ll be able to watch a webcast…

Why Rabbis Stand Against Long-term Solitary Confinement

Why Rabbis Stand Against Long-term Solitary Confinement

The Rabbinical Assembly, the national body of rabbis of Judaism’s Conservative Movement, has taken the step of becoming the first rabbinic organization to take a public stand against prolonged use of solitary confinement.

It’s Time to Value Public Safety over Revenge

It’s Time to Value Public Safety over Revenge

By Mike Tartaglia, Paralegal, National Prison Project & Andrew Waks, National Prison Project at 5:31pm

As America’s prison population has grown to unprecedented levels and imposed record-high costs on taxpayers, it is time to evaluate what we hope to achieve through incarceration: is it revenge, or safety? The two values appear to be in conflict…

Solitary Confinement: “More broken than when they went in”

Solitary Confinement: “More broken than when they went in”

By Alisa Roth, ACLU at 10:54am

Joe Giarratano is hardly a typical prisoner: he’s been involved in two Supreme Court cases; he’s been published in the Yale Law Journal; and he’s taught a class on non-violence, all while locked up in some of the toughest prisons…

16 and Solitary: Texas Jails Isolate Children

16 and Solitary: Texas Jails Isolate Children

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project & Matt Simpson, ACLU of Texas at 3:06pm

Imagine locking a teenager in a bathroom for an entire day, a week, a month, six months, a year, or longer. What would happen to that child? She would miss school. She wouldn't be able to exercise or burn off energy in a healthy way. She wouldn't…

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