A former inmate at Pelican Bay State prison in California recounts being shackled, beaten with nightsticks and Tasered because he neglected to hand over a pack of coffee. The humiliation, he writes in an essay for The Beat Within prison writers’ workshop, was nearly as awful as the pain.
A six-year study of Florida prisons finds that age and gender are more significant than race in determining which inmates receive the harshest punishment that authorities can mete out for violating the rules.
The use of solitary confinement has reached a watershed moment in the U.S., reports the Washington Post. Most experts agree that the hardships placed on thousands of isolated prisoners, some of whom are mentally ill, push them to a dangerous place. President Obama, citing the “devastating, lasting psychological consequences” solitary confinement can inflict, announced a ban last week on isolating juveniles in federal prisons and reduced the maximum number of days federal inmates can be isolated for a first offense […]
There may be no reporter in the U.S. who has collected more stories of solitary-confinement prisoners than James Ridgeway. “I wanted to use the prisoners themselves as reporters,” he tells the New Yorker. “Of course, that's taboo in the mainstream press, since we all know they're liars and double dealers and escape artists … my position was all we want to do here is, we want to know what is going on inside.” Each week, Ridgeway gets fifty letters from […]