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.

Aaron Hernandez Is Now Locked Alone Inside a Room the Size of a Parking Spot

Aaron Hernandez Is Now Locked Alone Inside a Room the Size of a Parking Spot

By Hilary Krase, ACLU National Prison Project & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 2:02pm

Following his well-publicized arrest, former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez is now living...

What Happened to My Son Should Never Happen Again

What Happened to My Son Should Never Happen Again

By Grace Bauer, Interim Executive Director, Justice for Families at 4:02pm

Imagine you have a 13-year-old son. And now imagine the worst that could happen to him. I'm a mother, and I've lived through it.

When my son Corey was 13, he was raped by another young prisoner. Cell guards stood by and watched, taking bets…

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…

I Was Six-Years-Old and Locked in Solitary

I Was Six-Years-Old and Locked in Solitary

By James Burns at 1:24pm

Solitary was the worst thing that's ever happened to me. I was in and out of jail while I was growing up, and every time I was in solitary confinement, it felt as horrible as the first time I was locked up and left alone.

The first time I'd…

After 42 Years in Solitary, Herman Wallace Dies a Free Man

After 42 Years in Solitary, Herman Wallace Dies a Free Man

By Helen Vera, National Prison Project Fellow, ACLU at 1:29pm

Herman Wallace died this morning. He was 71 years old and debilitated by terminal liver cancer. Three days ago, he went home to New Orleans for the first time since he was a young man. He has spent virtually all of the last 42 years locked alone in…

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Colorado Continues to Warehouse Mentally Ill Prisoners in Solitary

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Colorado Continues to Warehouse Mentally Ill Prisoners in Solitary

By Kiela Parks, Advocacy Associate, ACLU of Colorado at 11:31am

Fifteen years ago, John Quinn* was a bright high school student with a promising future. A talented athlete...

What the Prison Hunger Strikes Mean for an Architect: There Are Some Buildings that Never Should Have Been Built

What the Prison Hunger Strikes Mean for an Architect: There Are Some Buildings that Never Should Have Been Built

By Raphael Sperry, President, Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility at 2:06pm

From Guantanamo Bay to California's Pelican Bay, thousands of prisoners are on hunger strike...

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…

Historic Opportunity to Advance International Norms on Prisoners' Rights

Historic Opportunity to Advance International Norms on Prisoners' Rights

By Helen Vera, National Prison Project Fellow, ACLU at 2:13pm

After a mere seven days in solitary confinement, a person's brain activity slows significantly. Every study conducted on the effects...

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