Make no mistake, solitary confinement is torture
If New York state were punishing misbehaving prisoners by pulling out their fingernails, I believe our local senators and assemblymen would put a stop to this. Yet the legislature continues to allow the extended use of solitary confinement in prisons. Make no mistake, this is torture.
Don’t take my word for it. Go spend 15 minutes in the replica solitary confinement cell that the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement has put on display at South Wedge Mission. You will see why the United Nations has called for an absolute prohibition on keeping people in solitary confinement for more than 15 days.
In New York, some people have been kept in solitary confinement — spending 22 to 24 hours a day in a tiny cell with no real human contact — for 15 years. The sensory deprivation, lack of interaction and extreme idleness of this punishment is causing intense suffering and psychological damage to thousands of people in New York’s prisons right now.
“It’s an awful thing, solitary,” said Senator John McCain, who was held in solitary confinement while a prisoner of war in Vietnam. “It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment.” When considering his statement that solitary confinement was the worst of his suffering, know that McCain was also bayoneted in the abdomen and the foot, suffered broken arms and legs and cracked ribs, endured countless beatings and was starved to 105 pounds.
“You’re not sending them in there to rehabilitate them, you are sending them in there to lose their minds.” said Jerome Wright, a CAIC organizer who spent years in solitary confinement while in a New York prison. Read the entire blog by Erica Bryant here.
The United States has 5% of the world’s women, and 33% of its incarcerated women. Women’s imprisonment rose 700% nationally between 1980 and 2014, and women of color are disproportionately arrested and incarcerated. In response to this dramatic increase, the National Institute of Corrections and the National Resource Center on Justice-Involved Women worked to develop effective practices for women’s prisons through a Gender Informed Practice Assessment tool, known as GIPA.Read More
MARYSVILLE, Ohio — One-month-old Javon Jackson fidgets with his mom’s jacket as he drinks from his bottle and holds her hand. His mom coos. Her friends laugh, and a precocious, 2-year-old toddler stops by and waves hi. In all, it is a typical, upbeat moment for any mother and child — until prison officials tell [...]Read More
“Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Association’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
“The isolation itself is torture. Mentally and emotionally, it breaks you down. Spiritually it strips you. The way it is built is to break you down as a person and push your family away.” From “Solitary at Southport” Solitary confinement is torture. New York State subjects people to solitary confinement and other forms of isolation [...]Read More
Under unique statutory authority granted to the CA in 1846, WIPP monitors conditions in women’s prisons in New York, a role played by no other group in the country. WIPP coordinates the Coalition for Women Prisoners, a statewide alliance of more than 1,800 people, and carries out advocacy campaigns to reform harmful criminal justice policies. [...]Read More