No Place For Children

Please sign (and share!) the petition on change.org

Posted in Activism, Confined Kids, Insanity, Mental Health, Public Safety, Sensory Deprivation, SHU, Super-Max, Surviving Solitary, Torture, Torture for $$$ | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Is Solitary Confinement a Form of Torture? Q&A with journalist James Ridgeway

“Obama says we don’t torture, but a lot of this is straight-up torture,” says journalism legend James Ridgeway. “We call Guantanamo and Afghanistan torture and we never look at our own stuff.”

Ridgeway is talking about the growing use – and abuse – of solitary confinement in American prisons. He estimates there are 80,000 prisoners currently in solitary, many whom are mentally ill and suicidal. One prisoner Ridgeway is following has been in solitary for 40 years and he notes that some lawmakers are proposing life sentences in solitary as a “humane” alternative to the death penalty. Ridgeway and associates report their findings at SolitaryWatch.com.

Posted in Angola 3, Control Unit, History, Insanity, Mental Health, Sensory Deprivation, SHU, Solitary Confinement, Solitary Watch, Torture | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Voices from Solitary: A Mouse and a Murderer

Solitary Watch – “William Blake is in solitary confinement at Elmira Correctional Facility in upstate New York. In 1987, while in county court on a drug charge, Blake, then 23, grabbed a gun from a sheriff’s deputy and, in a failed escape attempt, murdered one deputy and wounded another. He is now 50 years old, and is serving a sentence of 77 years to life. Blake is one of the few people in New York to be held in “administrative” rather than “disciplinary” segregation—meaning he’s considered a risk to prison safety and is in isolation more or less indefinitely, despite periodic pro forma reviews of his status. He is now in his 27th year of solitary confinement.

Billy Blake is a prolific reader and a gifted writer who has written for Solitary Watch before, notably a piece that went viral worldwide called “A Sentence Worse Than Death.” Here, he describes what happens when he bonds with another creature in his solitary cell. He welcomes mail at the following address: William Blake 87-A-5771, Elmira C.F., P.O. Box 500, Elmira, NY 14902-0500. –Savannah Crowley

“Pop! Pop-pop-pop! Pop-pop!” I heard the loud noise echoing through the solitary confinement unit at Shawangunk Correctional Facility in the spring of 1988. It sounded like somebody was slapping a sneaker onto the concrete floor of their cell.

I put down the book I was reading and went to my cell gate to call my neighbor, as it sounded like the noise might be coming from his cell. “Willie, is that you making all the racket?”

“Yeah. There’s a mouse in my cell, and he picked the wrong cell to try to steal some food from. I’m gonna kill his ass now,” the man locking next to me said. Willie had been my neighbor since I had arrived at Shawangunk’s Special Housing Unit (SHU) in July of the year before.

“Don’t kill him, bro, just chase him out of your house. He’s just trying to live like everyone else is,” I pleaded for the little rodent’s life.

“Fuck that! I’m gonna kill this sucker so he can’t come in here again. They ain’t feeding us good enough to be giving anything up to a damn mouse,” Willie said.

I heard a few more pops as Willie chased the tiny creature around his cell, swatting at it with his sneaker. All the sudden, as I stood at the bars looking toward Willie’s cell, I saw the mouse fly onto the company and stop a few from the wall opposite the cell fronts.

“Yeah! I got that motherfucker,” Willie loudly said, sounding happy about ridding the unit of one mouse. It would not make his food any safer, though, the little he would save from his trays during the day to eat come nighttime. Shawagunk’s box was loaded with mice, roaches too. I have never seen a prison that isn’t, and I’ve been in many. Killing one would make no difference.

The mouse didn’t move for several minutes as I watched it, so I at first thought it was dead. But then it moved and began to head down the company, right toward my cell. It was moving very slowly, though, nothing like a mouse usually does, furry little rockets on four feet that they normally are, shooting across open areas to move about along the walls. As it got closer and I could see it better in the dim light shining on the company, I saw that the mouse was dragging itself by its front legs only. Its back legs were stretched out behind it, looking useless and not moving at all.

The angle the mouse was taking would have put it just past my cell gate, so it probably was trying to make it to the door of the pipechase between my cell and my neighbor’s to the left–Willie’s cell was to my right. Mice run under the solid-steel doors of the pipechases all the time, and once in there are safe from any traffic there might be when guards are taking inmates out of their cells to shower, for recreation in the empty SHU yards, or to visits or call-outs to the prison hospital or elsewhere. That is probably where they make their homes, as those pipe chases are dark and are rarely opened. They could hide safely during the daytime and come out at night to search for food, as mice like to do, nocturnal things that they are. It looked to me like the injured mouse was heading to the safest place it knew, heading home to the pipechase…” Full Article on Solitary Watch

Posted in Control Unit, Insanity, New York, Sensory Deprivation, SHU | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Prison Soy Diet Lawsuit Updates

Information and updates on the statuses of the prisoner soy diet lawsuits in Illinois and Florida -

Illinois -

Judge Gives Green Light to Soy Lawsuit

A pdf. link that lists all of the actions taken in the lawsuit so far -

 Harris v. Brown, et al

****

Florida -

Florida prisoner’s lawsuit calls soy meals ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment

“Florida inmates or taxpayers wishing to participate in the lawsuit should contact the Weston A. Price Foundation at info@westonaprice.org.”

 

 

Posted in Florida, Illinois, Prison Diet, Soy, Weston-Price | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thank you, 60,000 times, from Pamela Smart’s team of supporters

Originally posted on Pamela Smart:

We had nearly 60,000 page-views of pamelasmart.com in August, and many offers of support and help.  Thank you!

If you are new to this site, please read as much of it as you can.  If you would like to make contact with Pamela Smart, her family and her supporters, please contact Dr. Eleanor Pam through email.

We urge you to see the HBO documentary film, CAPTIVATED The Trials of Pamela Smart.  It does not advocate for guilt or innocence, but does examine the many irregularities of Pamela Smart’s trial, the role of the media in the trial verdict, and the unfairness of the sentencing.

And we urge you to sign the petition on change.org, addressed to the New Hampshire governor and executive council, seeking a sentence reduction, commutation, or parole for Pamela Smart.

If you have other questions about this site you may address them to our webmaster.

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Prison guards not trained for mental problems: union

Originally posted on Global News:

SASKATOON – The president of the union that represents Canadian prison guards says they are not being properly trained to deal with inmates who have mental health issues.

Kevin Grabowsky of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers says it’s a growing problem, pointing to the case of 43-year-old Marlene Carter.

She was recently sentenced to an additional two years at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon for 17 charges from assaults to peace officers and medical officials.

READ MORE: Court declares mentally ill female prisoner not a dangerous offender

Court was told that Carter spends 23 hours a day in solitary confinement strapped to a bed because otherwise she repeatedly bangs her head against the walls of her cell at a rate that can reach 150 times in a couple of minutes.

Officials with the Elizabeth Fry Society, a prisoner advocacy group, say Carter is severely mentally ill and needs…

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Extreme Sentencing Laws Are Not Smart

Originally posted on 4JusticeNow:

ACLU – Extreme sentencing laws have pushed the number of people in American jails and prisons to over 2.3 million — with more than half imprisoned for nonviolent crimes. These unnecessarily long sentences have led to bloated, overcrowded prisons and wasted billions of taxpayer dollars that could be better invested in our communities. 

Right now, we have a unique opportunity to rein in mass incarceration for people in the federal system. Congress members on both sides of the aisle have joined together in support of the Smarter Sentencing Act — a bill that could roll back some extreme federal mandatory minimum sentences.

If thousands of us put pressure on our congress members, we can reduce draconian sentencing laws that tear apart families.

Take action now: ask Congress to roll back federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws by scheduling and passing the Smarter Sentencing Act – before they leave for home…

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Huge Jail Serves as Nation’s Largest Mental Health Care Provider

Originally posted on Social Action:

Chicago’s Cook County Jail holds around 10,000 inmates, making it the largest jail in the United States. It’s also the nation’s largest mental health care provider, with an estimated 30 percent of inmates there diagnosed with a mental health disorder. RT Correspondent Liz Wahl takes you inside the jail that struggles to care for psychiatric patients amid overcrowding and limited resources.

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Central Park Five” – Wrongful Conviction: Defendant Speaks Out

Originally posted on Social Action:

Richard French Live’s Dominic Carter speaks with Raymond Santana, one of the “Central Park Five” about his experience with the wrongful conviction he suffered.

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Get 16-Year-Old Trans Girl “Jane Doe” Out Of Prison!

Originally posted on 4JusticeNow:

WatchDog.net – “A 16-year-old transgender girl in Connecticut has been incarcerated in an adult men’s prison for nearly a month — and she still hasn’t been charged or convicted of a single crime.

“Jane Doe” was living in a home for traumatized youth when authorities claim she attacked a staffer. But no criminal charges are even pending against her.

Instead, the teen has suffered in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT for weeks without treatment or educational training  — and instead of letting her go, the Department of Correction wants to send her to a men’s prison where she’ll be at high risk of abuse and sexual assault!

Please, join us in calling on Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy to release “Jane Doe” from prison and return her to state custody, placing her in a juvenile facility with kids of her gender if the state still plans to press charges!”

SIGN THE PETITION…

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Baby Dies in Jail After Mother Was Forced to Give Birth in Solitary With No Help: Lawsuit

Free Thought Project - “The plaintiff, Nicole Guerrero alleges in legal documents that:

“Wichita County denied (her) access to reasonable medical care … ignored her obvious signs of labor and constant requests for medical assistance, failed to conduct a physical examination … when she began to display obvious signs of labor, left (her) unattended in a solitary cell while she was obviously in labor, failed to transport (her) to the hospital for safe delivery, which ultimately caused (her) to deliver her baby alone in the solitary cell, and resulted in (her) suffering severe and likely permanent, physical and psychological injuries.”

Wichita County is not commenting on the case.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court.

After being arrested on charges of drug possession on June 2, 2012, she was held in Wichita County jail. According to the lawsuit, after visiting her doctor for an infection on June 11, while still in custody, Guerrero says her doctor told her she was 8½ months pregnant.


Read more at Free Thought Project 

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Colorado Prison Director To Reform Solitary Confinement After Enduring It Himself

First thing you notice is that it’s anything but quiet. You’re immersed in a drone of garbled noise – other inmates’ blaring TVs, distant conversations, shouted arguments,” he wrote. “I couldn’t make any sense of it, and was left feeling twitchy and paranoid. I kept waiting for the lights to turn off, to signal the end of the day. But the lights did not go off. I began to count the small holes carved in the walls. Tiny grooves made by inmates who’d chipped away at the cell as the cell chipped away at them.”

The Free Thought Project- “Colorado prison inmates who have spent time in solitary confinement should prepare to see their conditions change after the new executive director of the state’s department of corrections said spending 20 hours in isolation has inspired him to reform it.

Rick Raemisch announced his intentions in an editorial for the New York Times, using the space to remind the public that prisoners who have committed even minor infractions in prison can often spend nearly two years in what is known as the solitary housing unit (SHU), or administrative segregation (ad-seg). 

I would spend a total of 20 hours in that cell,” he wrote. “Which, compared to the typical stay, is practically a blink. On average, inmates who are sent to solitary spend an average of 23 months there. Some spend 20 years.”

As reformers have tried to call attention to how inmates are punished behind bars, they have highlighted the numerous academic papers and medical studies that have found solitary confinement to be one of the most damaging mental experiences a person can endure. That seriousness is further exacerbated by the number of convicts who suffer from mental illness before they are ever placed in ad-seg.

Raemisch described how he fully immersed himself, writing of how that experience can shift a person’s mentality.

First thing you notice is that it’s anything but quiet. You’re immersed in a drone of garbled noise – other inmates’ blaring TVs, distant conversations, shouted arguments,” he wrote. “I couldn’t make any sense of it, and was left feeling twitchy and paranoid. I kept waiting for the lights to turn off, to signal the end of the day. But the lights did not go off. I began to count the small holes carved in the walls. Tiny grooves made by inmates who’d chipped away at the cell as the cell chipped away at them.”

The impact that leaves on a person not only wears on them through their time behind bars, Raemisch explained, but also when they re-enter society.” Read More At The Free Thought Project-

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Solitary Confinement May Dramatically Alter Brain Shape In Just Dayz, Neuroscientist Sayz

Originally posted on Moorbey'z Blog:

By Nicole Flatow

Solitary Confinement May Dramatically Alter Brain Shape In Just Days, Neuroscientist Says

A solitary cell at Angola prison in the early 1970s.A solitary cell at Angola prison in the early 1970s.

CREDIT: In The Land Of The Free

Solitary confinement has been called a “living death,” cruel and unusual, and torture. Studies of the prison practice of placing inmates in a solitary, often concrete windowless cell for 23 hours a day with almost no human contact, have found that the psychological impact is dramatic after just a few days.

A University of Michigan neuroscientist suggested Friday that the physical impact on the brain could be just as significant if not moreso, and could “dramatically change the brain” in just a matter of days. Speaking on a panel about solitary confinement, neuroscientist Huda Akil said inaccess to inmates has prevented much formal study on brain changes while held in confinement…

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Deputy Assaults Shackled Prisoner , Judge Files Complaint , DA’s Office Declines Prosecution

Originally posted on YouViewed/Editorial:

Denver Deputy Slams Shackled Inmate Into Courtroom Wall

” A Denver sheriff’s deputy is appealing a 30-day suspension he was given after he slammed a handcuffed inmate into a wall during a hearing before a judge in 2012. Anthony Waller was handcuffed when he appeared before a judge to face domestic violence charges on Sept. 11, 2012.

  The hearing was recorded by surveillance cameras and posted online by the Colorado Independent. In the video, Waller can be heard asking the judge, “The investigation should come first and then the arrest?” He then looks back and that’s when Deputy Brad Lovingier grabbed Waller by the waist and slammed him head first into a wall.”

   The Denver prosecutor’s office declines prosecution of a filmed assault and the authorities wonder why they are losing public support ? The blue wall includes the brown shoe and that reveals that their mentality is “the public be…

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US prison to charge inmates for meals

Originally posted on Tales from the Conspiratum:

www.presstv.ir
February 9, 2014

A prison in Nevada County is moving ahead with a rare plan to charge inmates for food and medical care, despite opposition from human rights activists who slam the move as “cruel” punishment.

On Wednesday, The Elko County Commission approved Sheriff Jim Pitts’ proposal to charge prisoners $6 a day for meals, $10 for each doctor visit and $5 for initial booking into the jail.

He said the move will save county taxpayers millions of dollars a year. The prison pays up to $10,000 for the costs of food, services, housing and utilities for all 120 inmates, Pitts told The Elko Daily Free Press.

“We’re not the Hilton,” he said. “These guys shouldn’t have a free ride.”

Commissioner Grant Gerber, another backer of the plan, said, “Why should the people of Elko County pay for somebody else’s meals in jail?”

Under the new policy, inmates of…

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Two New Posters for Rally at Sacto Hearing

Originally posted on Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity:

Thanks to Melanie Cervantes and Dignidad Rebelde, we have two new posters for the rally to be held this Tuesday, February 11 following the California legislative hearing on solitary confinement. Poster images below. These and others will be screened at Sole Space on Telegraph in Oakland Sunday afternoon; see below and come help! The flyer for the hearing and rally is here.

Poster for Sacramento rally

Another poster for Sacramento rallyPrintingPartyDignidadRebelde

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Racial War Inside an Indiana Prison

Posted in Race, Racial War | 1 Comment

February 11th, 2014: Support The Prisoner-Led Movement To End Long Term Solitary Confinement

Original Post on Moorbey’z blog -leghearingfeb11flier1

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Shackled, When I Should Be Free!

Reb McFarland:

Outstanding..!

Originally posted on shelbycourtland:

Black men incarcerated

I get by on a wing and a prayer
and if you believe that, you’re a fool.
There are no Angels to help me out,
I’m just the subject of ridicule.

I’ll never get a moment to shine.
For in purgatory, I am stuck.
What did I do to deserve this life?
When I was born, I was out of luck!

I am the biggest fool there is,
thinking of brighter days ahead.
As I fight to stay alive,
and walk among the dead.

How many people give a damn
for a body in need like me?
Confined in a six by eight and
shackled when I should be free.

For thirty years, I’ll be in here.
It’s called the ‘war on drugs’.
And though liquor is their vice,
they turned us into thugs.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2014 Shelby I. Courtland

That bastard Obama has pardoned more goddamn…

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Lethal Injection vs Firing Squad

Truthloader – Since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated in the United States, five methods of execution have been used to kill death row inmates: lethal injection, electrocution, gas chamber, hanging and firing squad. Nowadays, the US’ primary method of execution is lethal injection because it’s considered the most humane. But in recent years, lethal injections have been throwing up some pretty big problems for states to deal with. To the extent that in the last month politicians have been calling for a return to execution by firing squad in at least two states, while another state has made moves towards increasing the use of electrocution. We take a look at what’s going on…

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Update on Hunger Strike at Menard Correctional in Illinois

Originally posted on Internationalist Prison Books Collective:

Force-Feeding-by-Michael-Russell-081113-webFrom The San Fransisco Bay View

On Jan. 15, 2014, approximately 25 prisoners in Administrative Detention at Menard Correctional Center went on hunger strike. The hunger strikers have been told the prison administration is working on obtaining a preliminary injunction to force feed them. They expect to continue the hunger strike even if they are force fed. “We need as much outside support as possible,” the prisoners say. Please call or email: Gov. Pat Quinn, Warden Rick Harrington, Illinois Department of Corrections Director Salvador Godinez.

The following information is drawn from letters received from prisoners in Administrative Detention at Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois, and compiled by attorney Alice Lynd.

Jan. 21, 2014 – On Jan. 15, 2014, approximately 25 prisoners in Administrative Detention at Menard Correctional Center went on hunger strike. Officers shook down their cells and took any food they found. The hunger strikers were sent to…

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