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.

Podcast: Billy McCarthy of We Are Augustines talks about Solitary Confinement and Mental Illness

Podcast: Billy McCarthy of We Are Augustines talks about Solitary Confinement and Mental Illness

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 9:51am

Many of singer / songwriter Billy McCarthy's songs were inspired by his brother James, who suffered from mental illness and took his own life after spending five years in solitary confinement in a California prison.

Legislators Join the Call to Reform Solitary in Virginia

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 1:23pm

The overuse of solitary confinement concerns some members of the Virginia legislature. According to Senator Adam Ebbin and Delegates Charniele Herring and Patrick Hope, there are simply too many prisoners in solitary for too long.

The three…

Solitary Confinement Destroys All Kinds of People

Solitary Confinement Destroys All Kinds of People

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project at 4:01pm

An American woman recounts her time in solitary confinement in an Iranian prison, an experience endured by thousands of prisoners here in the U.S.

California Prisoners on Hunger Strike Again to Protest Solitary Confinement

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 3:46pm

In July, hundreds of prisoners confined in Pelican Bay State Prison and nine other California correctional facilities protested the heinous conditions of their confinement with the only means they had: their ability to peacefully refuse food. After…

Attica 40 Years Later: Much Progress, But Much Still Left to Do

By Jennifer Wedekind, National Prison Project at 4:11pm

On September 9, 1971, in response to brutal living conditions and oppressive policies, prisoners rose up and took control of New York's Attica prison. The prisoners held more than 30 prison staff hostage, taking care to protect them from additional…

Choosing Death Over Life: (Still) Starving to Stop Solitary

Choosing Death Over Life: (Still) Starving to Stop Solitary

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 10:33am

UPDATE: Although it appears that the hunger strike is over, the problems with solitary confinement remain. Not only are these conditions inhumane and harmful, but they also jeopardize public safety.

Two Big Wins for Civil Liberties in Monday's Immigration Markup

Two Big Wins for Civil Liberties in Monday's Immigration Markup

By Sarah Mehta, Researcher, ACLU Human Rights Program & Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 9:36am

In yesterday's flurry of activity in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the comprehensive immigration reform bill, there were two big wins for civil liberties: Blumenthal 2, an amendment that limits solitary confinement in immigration detention, and…

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…

In California, an End to the Absolutely Devastating Practice of Locking Kids in Isolation in Juvenile Facilities May Be In Sight

In California, an End to the Absolutely Devastating Practice of Locking Kids in Isolation in Juvenile Facilities May Be In Sight

By Ian Kysel, Aryeh Neier Fellow, ACLU Human Rights Program at 11:17am

Good news for kids in California who are locked in isolation in juvenile facilities: the state could effectively end the solitary confinement of youth in juvenile facilities this year. This desperately needed development comes care of Senator – and…

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