NEWS: Roundup of National News on Isolated Confinement, September/October 2013

Compiled by the CAIC Research Committee.

October 14, 2013
The Nation magazine has begun a monthly series of articles to provide a systematic look at the pattern of rights abuses in the domestic “war on terror.”  This first article looks at American’s blindness to the abusive treatment of ‘terror’ suspects on US soil including the use of prolonged pretrial solitary confinement and restricted communication. The article also notes the use of solitary confinement for many groups of political activists.
http://www.thenation.com/article/176354/guantanamo-new-york-city?page=0,1#

October 12, 2013
A tribute to Herman Wallace has been put in the US Congressional Record by several congressmen, who promise to dedicate their future efforts to “ensuring that no one anywhere in the United States is subjected to the unjust and inhumane treatment that he has endured.”
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/10/12/18744783.php

October 9, 2013
Legislative hearings on Solitary Confinement — with testimony from expert panelists including the ACLU, legal scholars, incarcerated persons’ loved ones, and formerly incarcerated persons — were held today in CA in response to the recent hunger strike there.  Some Senators promised that these “public discussions will lead to legislation.”
https://twitter.com/search?q=%23CAHungerStrike&src=hash

October 8, 2013
The ACLU is making a big push in its campaign to urge the Department of Justice to ban the use of solitary for youth in their care, beginning with a u-tube video that exposes the impact of solitary confinement on youth. In Colorado, the ACLU is also showing two films dealing with solitary confinement, Out of Sight, Out of Mind (based on one of the cases highlighted in their recent report on the Colorado Department of Corrections’ continued warehousing of mentally ill incarcerated persons in solitary confinement) and The Worst of the Worst
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VvzYnjndcEk&noredirect=1
http://aclu-co.org/sites/default/files/imce/ACLU-CO%20Report%20on%20Solitary%20Confinement_2.pdf

October 7, 2013
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, today called on the United States to immediately end the indefinite solitary confinement imposed on Albert Woodfox since 1972 which, he says, clearly amounts to torture and goes far beyond what is acceptable under international human rights law.. http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/(httpPages)/4581FCB3B892AD71C1257BFD0042D0DE?OpenDocument#sthash.rxAwohz9.dpuf

October 4, 2013
After 42 Years in Solitary, Herman Wallace Died a Free Man after a court order overturned his conviction, granting full habeas relief and ordering him a new trial due to an improperly chosen grand jury.  The Judge further ordered Mr. Wallace’s immediate release.
https://www.aclu.org/blog/prisoners-rights/after-42-years-solitary-herman-wallace-dies-free-man
http://solitarywatch.com/2013/10/01/41-years-solitary-dying-herman-wallace-conviction-overturned/
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8bT8f-N8gQvR09ma0RzbXZvZE0/edit?usp=sharing

In a lawsuit contending that incarcerated people with mental illness are subject to brutal and inhumane treatment by the California prison system, videos were shown of California prison guards pumping pepper spray into the cells of incarcerated persons – some of whom were naked and screaming, all of whom suffer from mental illness – and then forcibly extracting them from their cells.
http://solitarywatch.com/2013/10/04/lawsuit-alleges-guard-brutality-prisoners-mental-illness-california-state-prisons/

October 2, 2013
Lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bomber, asked a federal judge to ease special restrictions that have been placed on him in prison, saying they have unduly left him in harsh isolation while preventing proper communication with his family and his legal team.  They argue that, since his arrest, there has been no evidence that he poses a further threat of violence or to national security. And they say their access to him is vital to build a case against the death penalty. http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/10/02/dzhokhar-tsarnaev-prison-restrictions-should-eased-attorneys-argue/j14fAHkT50moW41NbxDDGM/story.html

Prison officials have finally agreed to transfer a floridly psychotic man from ADX-Florence to the federal mental health prison at Springfield, Missouri. His mother had fought for him to get treatment for 5 years, but nothing was done.  The authorities kept saying the man was just “playing with them.” http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/10/prison-officials-finally-agree-to-transfer-floridly-psychotic-inmate/280186/

September 30, 2013
An article in Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, a publication of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM), says that Physicians and other licensed health professionals who are force-feeding hunger strikers at GTMO, are violating the medical ethics they swore to uphold and are complicit in torture.  The authors urge the licenses of health professionals who participate in force-feeding be revoked.  They also call for the medical profession to demand changes in military medical management protocols and stronger protections for military health professionals who protest unethical orders.
http://www.prweb.com/printer/11175870.htm

September 26, 2013
A federal judge has said she is likely to allow a lawsuit alleging that solitary confinement conditions at Pelican Bay State Prison amount to psychological torture, to be expanded from the original 10 plaintiffs to include about 1,100 people who are now held in indefinite isolation. But she has not yet issued a definite decision.  At issue is the question of who would be included in a class action suit, since the authorities have changed some rules and keep moving the incarcerated individuals around.
http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-ff-solitary-confinement-case-set-to-expand-20130926,0,1473630.story

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