Solitary Violates Human Rights

The world will get a glimpse this week into how the United States treats those we lock in solitary confinement, when the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights hears ACLU testimonies on how our treatment of vulnerable prisoners violates international human rights norms. The short story: we should be ashamed. For a more detailed picture, check back throughout the week for an ongoing blog series on the issue.

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U.S. Human Rights Record Undergoes International Scrutiny

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program at 10:25pm
This week, the United Nations Human Rights Committee will review U.S. compliance with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the U.S. in 1992. The review will cast light on a dark underbelly of American exceptionalism — our refusal to acknowledge that human rights treaties have effect overseas. Unlike most of the world (the only other exception being Israel), the United States continues to claim that human rights treaties don’t apply to U.S. activities overseas.
Time Out Is for Kids. This Isn't.

Time Out Is for Kids. This Isn't.

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project & Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 11:35am

"I developed techniques to survive. I've learned to play chess with other [kids] through a six-inch wall to keep myself occupied. But for others, it breaks them, makes them either violent or suicidal."

These are the words of Lino Silva, who…

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...

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…

Former Death Row Prisoner Speaks Out Against Solitary, Capital Punishment

Former Death Row Prisoner Speaks Out Against Solitary, Capital Punishment

By Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 12:07pm

Montez Spradley spent three-and-a-half years on death row in Alabama for a murder he did not commit...

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…

Rights Groups to Government: Allow U.N. Torture Expert to Examine U.S. Use of Solitary Confinement

Rights Groups to Government: Allow U.N. Torture Expert to Examine U.S. Use of Solitary Confinement

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program & Ian Kysel, Aryeh Neier Fellow, ACLU Human Rights Program at 9:53am

Human and civil rights groups around the country have asked the U.S. government to invite a U.N....

New Report Shines a Light on Solitary Confinement

New Report Shines a Light on Solitary Confinement

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:20am

It's estimated that more than 80,000 prisoners are held in solitary confinement or restricted housing across the United States on any given day. According to a new report released last week by the U.S. General Accounting Office, it's about time the…

"Reflection Cottages": The Latest Spa Getaway or Concrete Solitary Confinement Cells for Kids?

"Reflection Cottages": The Latest Spa Getaway or Concrete Solitary Confinement Cells for Kids?

By Kiela Parks, Advocacy Associate, ACLU of Colorado at 12:06pm

When you hear the term "reflection cottage," what comes to mind? A relaxing spa getaway...

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