Not A Single, Solitary Good Reason

Last summer, we highlighted the hunger strike of 30,000 prisoners against California’s draconian solitary confinement system. Now, Jessica Pishko suggests the practice may be on its way out:

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Oakland held that five inmates currently locked up in California’s Pelican Bay State Prison are permitted to move forward with their class action, Ashker v. Brown, on behalf of over 500 other inmates, all of whom have been held in Segregated Housing Units (SHU), the administrative term for solitary confinement, for over a decade. Some of those inmates have been in solitary for over 20 years now, and many are there on the basis of alleged gang affiliation only. …

This lawsuit may definitively determine the future of solitary confinement and force the CDCR to phase it out completely. This is no small task. California holds more people in solitary than any other state. Famously foreboding because of its remoteness, Pelican Bay has over 1,000 inmates in SHU alone, and two other prisons – Corcoran State Prison and CCI Calipatria – hold over 2,000 more inmates in SHU confinement.

For more on the subject, check out our Ask Anything series with Shane Bauer, who responded to several of your questions about solitary confinement based on his research and first-hand suffering.