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Solitary Confinement

OPINION
May 16, 2013
Re "Too young for solitary," Editorial, May 12 Your editorial had such a promising beginning. Unfortunately, rather than saying the cruel solitary confinement of juveniles should be banned, the editorial recommend that it "should at the very least be documented. " Documentation cannot make an inhumane practice humane. We know that a high percentage of juvenile offenders have psychiatric disorders. Research consistently confirms that isolation exacerbates mental health disorders.
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OPINION
August 10, 2013 | By Paul Thornton
Convicted murderers, gang leaders and other hardened criminals tend not to draw much sympathy from readers. But the hunger strike taking place in California prisons, which is entering its second month and has drawn prolonged attention to the solitary-confinement conditions in which thousands of inmates are housed, may have changed that. When the strike started, many of the readers who sent us letters were content to let starvation take its course with the protesting inmates; some even suggested it was a good way to address overcrowding.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 9, 2013 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- For inmates in solitary confinement in California prisons, there are very few ways to send a message to the outside world. Phone calls are not allowed, and letters are read by prison officials before they're dropped in the mail. Internet access is banned. So inmate leaders say they're launching a new hunger strike to protest conditions at lockups around the state. The last time they organized such an effort was two years ago. The hunger strike eventually spread to thousands of inmates at one-third of the state's prisons.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 28, 2013 | By Paige St. John
PELICAN BAY STATE PRISON - Inside the concrete labyrinth of California's highest-security prison, an inmate covered in neo-Nazi tattoos and locked in solitary confinement has spearheaded the largest prison protest in California history. Convicted killer Todd Ashker and three other inmates - representing the Mexican Mafia, Nuestra Familia and the Black Guerrilla Family - called for a mass hunger strike July 8, largely to protest indefinite incarceration in solitary confinement. More than 30,000 prisoners answered.
NEWS
July 9, 2013 | By Paul Whitefield
OK, excuse me while I see how much sympathy I can work up for the inmates in California's prisons. Umm, yep, sorry -- not really feeling the love, guys. As you know, 30,000 or so unfairly incarcerated choirboys at several state prisons, including Pelican Bay and Folsom, began refusing to eat their meals Monday. They have a number of complaints ; at Pelican Bay, those mostly revolve around, as The Times' Paige St. John reported, “conditions in solitary confinement, where inmates may be held indefinitely without access to phone calls or rehabilitation programs, or outdoor exercise beyond a concrete pen.” But wait, there's more!
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 11, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO - As meal strikes and work stoppages continue in most of California's prisons, 10 inmates at one facility have ended their protests and resumed eating, officials said. Those who were on strike at the High Desert State Prison in Susanville, in northeastern California, are no longer under medical observation, said the federal overseer of healthcare in the corrections system. Other officials said they had not met any of the strikers' demands. Participants were protesting solitary confinement conditions, among other issues.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 18, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO -- The United Nations' lead torture investigator says he is worried about increased use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and wants access to California lockups to ensure that prisoners' rights are being protected. "We should have more justification" for putting prisoners in isolation, Juan Mendez, the UN's special rapporteur (reporter) on torture told The Times' editorial board Friday. He called for greater scrutiny of prison systems that routinely put inmates in solitary confinement.
OPINION
August 9, 2013
Re "Hungry for control," Opinion, Aug. 6 Jeffrey Beard, head of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, does a masterful job of presenting a narrow view of the issues underlying the current hunger strike in California prisons. He avoids the broader issue of the many thousands of persons held in some form of solitary confinement in California, a practice that is widely held to be torture, and describes conditions in the Security Housing Units, or SHUs, quite at odds with those observed by attorneys and human rights activists.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 30, 2013 | By Paige St. John, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
SACRAMENTO -- Lawmakers frustrated that a state prison hunger strike has gone on for seven weeks say it is time they took on the debate over solitary confinement themselves. “The issues raised by the hunger strike are real ... and can no longer be ignored,” Senate Public Safety Committee Chairwoman Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) and her Assembly counterpart, Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) said Friday. They issued a joint call for hearings this fall on conditions within California's super-maximum security prisons.
NEWS
March 10, 1998 | From Times Wire Reports
Whitewater figure James B. McDougal, who died Sunday at the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, was in solitary confinement when he collapsed of an apparent heart attack in a jail cell, a federal prison official said. McDougal, 57, had been placed in "administrative detention" because he had refused to give a urine sample as part of random drug testing for inmates, said Todd Craig, chief spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
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