June 9, 2013 | Lisa Dawson for Solitary Watch
The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week.
• According to the tally kept by The Miami Herald, 104 of the 166 men held captive at Guantanamo are now on hunger strike, with 41 being force-fed and four hospitalized. The Miami Herald also reports that the U.S. Southern Command has requested additional guards for Guantanamo prison camps. According to the article, all but 15 of the detainees are being held in solitary, where they have remained following a raid in April that put Camp 6 under lockdown.
• The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that ”a Rastafarian inmate who spent more than 10 years in segregation for refusing to cut his hair said fears for his health and safety led him to give in last month.”
• Courthouse News Service reports that a federal judge has ordered the state of California to provide deaf people in solitary confinement with sign-language interpreters, noting “inmates there are 33 percent more likely to kill themselves.”
• The Future of Freedom Foundation reports on the overuse of solitary confinement in the United States, detailing conditions in solitary, its history and its used today.
• Juvenile-In-Justice publishes a guest post by Grace Bauer, the mother of a man held in solitary confinement. Bauer writes, “I have witnessed the long-term impact of my son’s time in isolation and prison… I have sat across from him, trying to maintain my own composure, while mentally cataloging and assessing the bruises and wounds on his body… I listen to him talk about how useless he is and how he has no worth.”
• The Daily Beast reports on the solitary confinement of Bradley Manning as his trial continues. The article notes that Manning was “forced to sleep naked without pillows and sheets on his bed, and restricted from physical recreation or access to television or newspapers even during his one daily hour of freedom from his cell, all under the pretense that the private was a suicide risk.”
• The Boston Globe publishes an editorial on the heavy use of solitary confinement by prisons in Massachusetts, stating that “[o]ther than Arkansas, only Massachusetts allows prisoners to be sentenced for up to 10 years in isolation for disciplinary infractions, according to the Boston-based Prisoners’ Legal Services.”
• Wired reports that photographer Richard Ross, whose work features children caught in the juvenile justice system, voluntarily spent 24 hours in solitary confinement in a juvenile detention facility to gain an understanding of what kids in isolation go through.
• Inter Press Service reports on the increasing use of solitary confinement in the U.S., stating that “the country’s federal prisons authorities have failed to carry out studies on the effects of this practice.” Solitary Watch covers GAO’s recent report questioning the widespread use of solitary confinement in federal prisons.