In the news

Due to lack of funds, this page is no longer being updated. News items will be posted on Twitter: @solitary_org

Archived links


“Reassessing Solitary Confinement: The Human Rights, Fiscal and Public Safety Consequences” United States Senate, Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. 19 June 2012.

A transcript of the hearing and a collection of written testimonies submitted to the Subcommittee can be found on the Solitary Watch website

Senators start a review of solitary confinement. By Erica Goode (The New York Times) 19 June 2012

UCSC prison expert Haney testifies on the perils of solitary confinement: Psychology professor tells U.S. Senate subcommittee the practice can cause profound psychological damage. By Guy Lasnier, 19 June 2012

Solitary Confinement Decreased By Hundreds In Colorado (Huffington Post) 6 June 2012

Critics: 'Maximum security' a factor in prison suicide rate. By Bob Ortega (The Republic) 2 June 2012

UN urges Canada to ban solitary confinement for mentally ill prisoners. By Diana Zlomislic (The Star) 2 June 2012

Hunger Strike at Red Onion Prison has Ended, Officials Say. By Anita Kumar. (Washington Post Local) 29 May 2012

Virginia Inmates Stage Hunger Strike to Protest ‘Torturous’ Solitary Confinement By Ashley Portero (International Business Times) 24 May 2012

Lawyers Say NATO 3 held in ‘cruel and unusual’ solitary confinement. By Samantha Abernethy (Chicagoist) 23 May 2012

Special Report: the costs of ‘supermax’ long term isolation. By Charles Shaw (Open Democracy) 23 May 2012
See report here (pdf)

Mentally ill inmates sue to get out of solitary. By Rema Rahman (San Francisco Gate)  17 May 2012

Lynn Finley shares son David’s solitary confinement nightmare By Simon McCormack (Huffington Post)  17 May 2012

Lawmakers vote to keep supermax prison open By Patrick Yeagle (Illinois Times) 10 May 2012

After Ten Years Israel to Release Palestinian Prisoner from Solitary Confinement. By Jack Khoury (Ha’aretz) 9 May 2012

Mentally ill female prisoners treated cruelly, inhumanly, report finds. By Diana Zlomislic (The Star) 9 May 2012

Solitary confinement is no place for a poet By AL Kennedy (The Guardian) 9 May 2012

25 Ohio supermax prisoners start a hunger strike. By Ben Turk (San Francisco Bay View) 8 May 2012

Troy Anderson lawsuit: Supermax conditions draw criticism from judge By Alan Prendergast (Denver Westword) 7 May 2012

Eight Months in Solitary, by Andrew Harmon (The Advocate) 7 May 2012

Tamms' future is on the line: Will panel recommend closing supermax prison? By George Pawlaczyk  (News-Democrat) 28 April 2012

W.Va. ends solitary confinement for juveniles. By Associated Press (The Mariertta Times)27 April 2012

Christopher Tappin Extradition: 'My 10 Barbaric Days In US Prison' By Associate Press (Huffington Post) 27 April 2012

A solitary confinement solution: Editorial (Los Angeles Times) 24 April 2012

Forty years in solitary: two men mark sombre anniversary in Louisiana prison By Ed Pilkington (The Guardian) 16 April 2012

Ahmed v UK- a green light for solitary confinement? By Richard Haley (Scotland Against Criminalising Communities) 12 April 2012

Battle ends with Hamza heading for a US prison. By Terri Judd, Jerome Taylor, Kevin Rawlinson (The Independent) 11 April 2012

European court makes the right call on Abu Hamza. By Joshua Rozenberg (The Guardian) 10 April 2012

Just how bad are American 'supermax' prisons? By Sean Clare and Daniel Nasaw in Washington (BBC News) 10 April 2012

Abu Hamza US extradition backed by European Court By Dominic Casciani (BBC News Online) 10 April 2012.
The European Court of Human Rights has backed the extradition of Abu Hamza and four other terror suspects from the UK to the US.

See judgement here

Prisons Rethink Isolation, Saving Money, Lives and Sanity By Erica Goode (New York Times) 10 March 2012 

Bradley Manning's treatment was cruel and inhuman, UN torture chief rules. By Ed Pilkington (The Guardian) 12 March 2012

House kills study to reduce solitary confinement in prisons. By Anita Kumar (Washington Post Local) 6 February 2012

Proposed Bill:  Directing the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study the use of solitary confinement by the Department of Corrections

(HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 126) Pre-filed January 11, 2012 [LINK TO TEXT]

Super maximum security prison planned (Bangkok Post) 2 February 2012 [further detail of planned prison]

B35bln “super-max” prison planned (Bangkok Post) 1 February 2012

The Gray Box: An investigative look at solitary confinement - A Dart Society Report. By Susan Greene, January 2012

People power pries Abu Jamal from punitive administrative custody. By Linn Washington Jr. (San Francisco Bay) 30 January 2012

Government wants to isolate drug addict prisoners (Bangkok Post) 30 January 2012

GUEST COLUMN: Solitary confinement reform is welcome sign of progress. By Denise Maes (The Gazette, Colorado Springs)January 28, 2012

Mumia Refuses DOC’s demands to cut his locks (Amsterdam News) 27 January 2012

Is Isolation A Form of Torture? UN Expert says It Is. By Evelyn Leopold (Huffington Post) 26 January 2012

New Mexico man who pulled tooth while locked in solitary confinement awarded $ 22 million. 25 January 2012

Feeling Death at our Heels: An update from the frontlines of the struggle (San Francisco Bay View) 25 January, 2012 UPDATE FROM CALIFORNIA

Israeli prisons are accused of violating international conventions for the treatment of children.By Priyanka Boghani (GlobalPost) 23 January, 2012

Solitary Confinement in Great Britain: Still Harsh, But Rare. By Elisa Mosler ( 19 January 2012

Solitary confinement in Virginia. (Editorial) The Washington Post, 16 January 2012

Mumia Abu-Jamal Moved Off Death Row-and into Solitary Confinement. By James Ridgeway and Jean Casella ( 13 January, 2012

Private prisons’ blueprint for success: more lobbying, less security. By Alan Prendergast (Westword) 13 January 2012

Irate parents say ‘scream rooms’ in schools are like solitary confinement in prison. By Larry Mcshane (New York Daily News) 11 January 2012
Misbehaving kids at Farm Hill Elementary School locked in closet-sized, blood-stained rooms, parents say

Call for Action: Call Now Stand With Mumia and everyone in Solitary! Shut Down Solitary Units. Close Restricted Housing units end torture blocks. Prison Radio,10 January 2012

Isolation Kills” Life in F Type Prisons. By Ayca Soylemez (BIA News Centre) 10 January 2012

Va. prisons’ use of solitary confinement is scrutinized. By Anita Kumar (Washington Post Local) 8 January 2012

California bill so reporters can interview prisoners progressing. By Deborah Dupre (Human Rights Examiner) 7 January 2012

Juvenile lifers targeted for rape, excessive isolation in adult prisons. By Alan Prendergast (Westword) 4 January, 2012

Man dies in Calif. state-sponsored torture scandal. By Deborah Dupre (Human Rights Examiner) 31 December 2011

Robert Hood: A former supermax warden’s resolutions for 2012. By Alan Prendergast (Denver Westword) 28 December 2011

Jailed Belarusian Oppositionist to Remain In Solitary Confinement (Radio Free Europe) 22 December 2011

Local death-row inmate deemed ‘too dangerous’ to relocate Springfield inmate one of six to stay at super maximum facility. By Leo Grieco and Jessica Heffner (Springfield News Sun) 21 December 2011

Georgia Judge Accused of Misconduct Will Resign. By Robbie Brown (New York Times) 20 December 2011

To witness people say no to state-sanctioned torture is a beautiful sight indeed. By Randall Sondai Ellis (San Francisco Bay View) 18 December, 2011

Manning finally has day in court as prosecutors detail ‘crimes’: US Army private accused of sending secrets to WikiLeaks turns fire on judge as trial begins
By David Usborne(The Independent)17 December 2011

Pre-Trial Hearing Begins for Soldier Tied to Wikileaks. By William Ide (Voice of America) 16 December 2011

Beyond Guantánamo, a Web of Prisons for Terrorism Inmates. By Scott Shane (New York Times) 10 December 2011

Ireland: Number of prisoners on 23-hour lock-up drops (The Journal) 29 November 2011

Bradley Manning: MEPs’ open letter to the US government (The Guardian) 29 November 2011
The letter signed by more than 50 European parliament members expressing concern over whistleblower’s treatment in custody

The Shocking Ways the Corporate Prison Industry Games the System by Rania Khalek (AlterNet) 29 November 2011

Solitary Confinement In Colorado Prisons Overused, State-Funded Report Finds. By John Rudolf (Huffington Post) 28 November 2011

Appeals court weighs suits of four terrorists challenging Supermax move. By John Ingold (Denver Post) 18 November 2011

Solitary confinement: Isolating prisoners overused in Colorado, study suggests. By Alan Prendergast (Westword) 17 November 2011

Birtukan tells UN new Ethiopia wouldn’t terrorize citizens. By Abebe Gellaw (ESAT News) 17 November 2011.

Iran uses beatings to pressure Christian pastor: Reports confirm jailed leader resisting campaign to make him recant. By Michael Carl (WND) 17 November 2011
Beatings and solitary confinement are two of the tools being used by Iranian officials to pressure a Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani condemned for blasphemy to recant his faith, according to reports.

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee: solitary confinement in prisons should be minimised (Strasbourg, 10 November 2011)

In its annual report, which was published today, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) urges States to minimise the use of solitary confinement of prisoners. This measure should be applied only in exceptional circumstances and for the shortest possible period of time. Download PDF copy.

Reducing solitary confinement: How Maine’s corrections commissioner dropped supermax numbers by 70 percent . . . and became a national leader in prison reform (if anybody follows). By Lance Tapley (The Portland Phoenix) 2 November 2011

Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, Or Carlos The Jackal, Reportedly On Hunger Strike (Huffington Post) 25 October 2011

In solitary: I wanted to talk with people: that was the biggest desire’ By Kyaw Kha (Mizzima, Burma News) 24 October 2011

Supporters of Tamms inmate: Solitary should not be dumping ground for mentally ill. BY GEORGE PAWLACZYK AND BETH HUNDSDORFER (News-Democrat) 23 October 2011

UN Special Rapporteur on torture calls for the prohibition of solitary confinement, 18 Oct 2011

Why California prisoners press on with hunger strike. By George Lavender (The Guardian) 17 October 2011

Some inmates continue prison hunger strike, advocates say. By Mary Slosson (Reuters) 15 October 2011

ACLU launches new campaign: Stop Solitary - The Dangerous Overuse of Solitary Confinement in the United States

Judge tosses suit of inmate long held in solitary. “A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by an inmate who has been in solitary confinement for nearly 28 years, saying the convicted murderer’s conditions are not extreme”. By Sara Burnett (The Denver Post), 5 October 2011

‘Judge Allows Trial on Terrorist’s Challenge to Prison Rules’ .By John Schwartz and Benjamin Weiser (The New York Times) 3 October 2011

‘Lawsuit Breaks Ground for Transgender Supermax Inmates’. By Adam Klasfeld (Courthouse News Service) 8 September 2011

‘After Magnitsky, Prison Doctors Ordered to Check Inmates’: Chastened by the Kremlin and the international community after the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, the Justice Ministry has ordered prison doctors to check the health of prisoners being punished with solitary confinement. By Natalya Krainova (The Moscow Times) 07 September 2011

‘Indefinite solitary confinement persists in California prisons’ By Jack Dolan (Los Angeles Times) 05 September 2011

‘Solitary confinement was the worst thing. I thought I’d never get out’. A free man after spending five months in Gaddafi’s notorious Abu Salim prison,
Matthew VanDyke explains his horrific ordeal (The Independent) 29 August 2011

US film-maker held in Libyan jails for six months describes his joy at release. By David Smith (The Guardian) 29 August 2011

Freeing the West Memphis Three (The Daily Beast) 28 August 2011

Japanese Officials Reveal Execution Chambers. By Hiroko Tabuchi (The New York Times) 27 August, 2010

Years-long isolation of inmates under attack. By Dane Schiller (Houston Chronicle) 16 August 2011

Taiwan begins to deal with its amateur spies caught by China’ By Cindy Sui (Los Angeles Times) 14 August 2011

‘Dog Cell’ for Striking Prisoners (Burma) Radio Free Asia, 24 May 2011

Opposition Leader Describes Jail (Burma) Radio Free Asia 12 March 2010

Solitary: Tough test of survival instinct (BBC World News, Asia-Pacific)


Andres Breivik (Norway)

Who, What, Why: How do you assess a killer’s mental health? (BBC News) 29 November 2011

Norway massacre: Breivik declared insane (BBC News) 29 November 2011

Anders Behring Breivik to leave solitary confinement
Norwegian extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who has confessed to twin attacks in July that killed 77 people, will be allowed out of solitary confinement but will still be subjected to heavy restrictions, police said on Thursday.  (The Telegraph) 13 October 2011

Norway killer describes isolation as ‘torture’ (ITN) 19 September 2011

Anders Behring Breivik held for further eight weeks (The Guardian) 19 September 2011

Norway Killer will spend a month in isolation ITN News, 26 July 2011

Norwegian Police Probe Shooting Massacre Suspect’s Claims of ‘More Cells’. By Marianne Stigset and Josiane Kremer, 26 July 2011

Prisons ‘often’ break isolation laws: Norwegian prisons have admitted that they “often” hold prisoners in solitary confinement without permission from the courts. 10 August 2011


Hunger Strike at Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit (SHU) July 2011 & September 2011

On July 1st, 2011 prisoners in California’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison began a hunger strike, calling for an end to their long term isolation and other conditions of imprisonment at the SHU.

For further information and updates see the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition’s blog

Second hunger strike, September 2011

‘Nearly 12,000 Prisoners Join California Hunger Strike To End Torture Conditions’. By Jeffrey Kaye (The Public Record) 3 October 2011

‘California prisoners launch second hunger strike’. BY Sam Stanton (The Sacramento Bee) 29 September 2011

‘Prisoners Renew a Protest in California’. By Erica Goode (The New York Times) 29 September 2011

To read about the prisoners’ key demands and to sign a petition in support of the hunger strikers

A statement by medical professionals in support of the hunger strike

LA Times editorial July 20th

LA Times blog July 21st

Hunger Strike by Inmates Is Latest Challenge to California’s Prison System, by Ian Lovett (New York Times 8 July 2011)



Tell the California Department of Corrections to Meet the Demands of Prisoners. By Nadra Kareem Nittle, 8 August, 2011

Prison officials move to improve inmate isolation conditions.  By Michael Montgomery (California Watch) 18 August 2011

Hunger Strike Updates. By Isaac Ontiveros (Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity). San Francisco Bay View, 22 August 2011



Angola 3 News

Amnesty International launches campaign to release Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace from isolation

Court Rules Against Angola 3′s Albert Woodfox: No End in Sight to 38 Years in Solitary Confinement (Solitary Watch 22 June 2010)


From the Bottom of the Heap by Robert Hillary King (website and book info)


Bradley Manning

News and comment on Bradley Manning from the Guardian (ongoing updates)

News and comment on Bradley Manning from the New York Times (ongoing updates)

Independent UN expert on torture calls for unrestricted access to US detainees

UN Special Rapporteur statement

The shameful abuse of Bradley Manning, by Daniel Ellsberg (Guardian, 11 March 2011)

On Bradley Manning, solitary confinement and selective outrage, by Jean Casella and James Ridgeway (SolitaryWatch 2 January 2011)

Psychologists for Social Responsibility Open Letter re Bradley Manning

A typical day for Bradley Manning, Blog Post by David E Coombs, Bradley Manning’s lawyer (18 December 2010)

The inhuman conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention, By Glenn Greenwald (, 15 December 2010)