Reporting Human Rights Violations: A How-to Guide for Prisoners

The following guide, published by the Human Rights Coalition, offers guidelines for prisoners on reporting human rights violations. The method described is simple, requiring documentation, intervention, and movement-building: [W]e learn the truth by gathering evidence (documentation); we take action according to the urgency of the situation and our capacity to move people (intervention); and we bring others…

U.N. Criticizes U.S. on Torture, Police Practices, Immigration Detention

ACLU: U.N. Criticizes U.S. on Torture, Police Practices, Immigration Detention

The following comes from the ACLU: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: media@aclu.org GENEVA – The United Nations Committee Against Torture issued a report today castigating the United States’ record on a wide range of issues, including lack of accountability for torture, immigration detention, and abusive criminal justice practices such as solitary confinement and excessive use of…

New York City Mayor De Blasio: We Need to Address People with Mental Illnesses in Jail

NEW YORK—At a Thursday press briefing on the Department of Correction’s planned reforms of jail conditions at Rikers Island, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte expressed that their biggest challenge is how to provide for mentally ill inmates. The mayor said the high proportion of inmates with a mental illness—at 40 percent…

Voices from Solitary | Nathan Brewer | Hamilton County Jail | Solitary Confinement

Voices from Solitary: A Day in the Life, Part VI

The following essay was originally published on Solitary Watch: This post is the next in a series of pieces Solitary Watch is publishing as part of a project calling for people held in solitary confinement to write on various proposed themes. Our first suggested theme, “A Day in the Life,” calls for writers to describe a day…

The Inhumanity of How We Incarcerate

The Inhumanity of How We Incarcerate

North Carolina man Anthony Michael Kerr’s, who died of dehydration in solitary confinement, is only the latest horrifying story we’ve heard in recent months. You may recall Darren Rainey, the mentally ill Florida inmate whose skin was boiled off his bones when guards locked him in a scalding shower as a punishment. Former employees later alleged that staff at that Dade County facility made a “sport” of brutalizing the mentally ill. Or Jerome Murdough, who died of heat exposure after left unattended for hours in a cell in a Rikers unit for mentally ill patients. This, despite the fact that prison officials knew a heating unit malfunction had raised the temperature in those cells to dangerously high levels. Or Christopher Lopez, a schizophrenic man in Colorado who suffered two seizures and died on the concrete floor of a prison cell while guards allegedly mocked and laughed at him. Prison officials waited a year and a half before bothering to report his death.

Mental illness and prisons

A Psychotic Episode Shouldn’t End in a Jail Cell

The following blog post, entitled “A Psychotic Episode Shouldn’t End in a Jail Cell,” on mental health services in this country comes from the ACLU. The post underscores that the state of mental health care in this country has failed on all fronts, noting that we use prisons and jails in place of treatment facilities…

Lethal Injection | Death Penalty

Missouri Pharmacy Refuses to Provide Lethal Drug for Execution

The following comes from RT: Pharmacy won’t provide lethal drug for Missouri execution February 18, 2014 An Oklahoma pharmacy has agreed not to supply compounded pentobarbital for an upcoming execution in Missouri, following a lawsuit filed by the convict arguing the substance is likely to cause “ultimately inhumane pain.” The lawsuit was filed by Michael…

Records Show Excessive Use of Force at Colorado Supermax

June 15, 2013 | By Lisa Dawson for Solitary Watch Records kept by the Colorado Department of Corrections show 61 instances from March 1, 2012 to March 1 of this year of corrections officers using force on men held at the Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP), where prisoners are held in administrative segregation on lockdown for 23 hours a day. The…

ACTION ALERT: William Van Poyck: Sentenced under false pretenses, yet scheduled to be executed in MINUTES

Sentenced under false pretenses, William Van Poyck has spent the last 26 years held in solitary on Florida’s death row for a murder he did not commit. Poyck is scheduled to be executed in minutes.  SHOW YOUR SUPPORT: TAKE ACTION! 1) Contact Florida Governor Rick Scott and tell him what you think. (850) 488-7146 (Email: Rick.Scott@eog.myflorida.com) 2) Sign the petition…

Something to come back to: U.S. mass incarceration and the prison population increase

May 23, 2013 | Lisa Dawson As shown in the graph below, U.S. prison and jail populations have grown exponentially over the last three decades, raising a variety of questions about this country’s ethics and the state of American democracy. With 2.25 million people behind bars, the U.S. incarceration rate exceeds that of any other country, suggesting the…

Update on the Wrongful Conviction of Jeffrey Havard: Open Letter Calling for Miss. Attorney General to Review Case

May 18, 2013 | Lisa Dawson Jeffrey Havard currently sits in solitary confinement on death row in Mississippi, wrongfully convicted in 2002 of murdering and sexually abusing his then-girlfriend’s 6-month old daughter, Chloe Britt, who died from head injuries. While the state of Mississippi argues that Havard, 34, sexually abused and killed the child, Havard maintains that…

Seven Days in Solitary

April 27, 2013 | Lisa Dawson | Solitary Watch The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports, and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. •  The Queens Chronicle reports on efforts by activists and New York City Council Members to increase transparency and and place stricter limits on the use…

Seven Days in Solitary

April 27, 2013 | Lisa Dawson | Solitary Watch The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports, and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. •  The Queens Chronicle reports on efforts by activists and New York City Council Members to increase transparency and and place stricter limits on the use…

As Mental Health Services Have Disappeared, The Prison Population Has Skyrocketed

April 30, 2013 | Tara Culp-Ressler | ThinkProgress The Great Recession led to the biggest cuts to mental health services in this nation’s history. According to a report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, states slashed more than $1.8 billion from their mental health services between 2009 and 2011. That funding decision has had some serious consequences —…

Lynn Stewart: Will a Legal Defender of Terror Suspects Die of Cancer in Prison?

Originally posted on Dogma and Geopolitics:
Lynne Stewart‘s “Crime?” Steadfastly fighting for justice in courts that have surrendered their independence to serve the security and surveillance state. April 22, 2013  |   Lynne Stewart, in the vindictive and hysterical world of the war on terror, is one of its martyrs. A 73-year-old lawyer who spent…

Four Score and One Too Many Years: Free all of the Angola 3 from solitary confinement

Originally posted on Moorbey'z Blog:
  (Artwork by Emory Douglas) Today, April 17, 2013, marks 41 years that Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace have been unjustly incarcerated in solitary confinement in Louisiana. This is 41 years of living in concrete and metal cages of 6 x 9 feet; 41 years of being separated from…