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Solitary Confinement

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.
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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.
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 19, 2002 | ELAINE WOO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Col. Floyd J. Thompson, who endured nearly nine years of torture, disease and starvation in Vietnam as the longest-held prisoner of war in American history, has died. He was 69. Thompson was found dead at his Key West, Fla., home Tuesday after an apparent heart attack over the weekend, said Charles Ingraham, a friend and spokesman for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Key West.
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.
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 1, 2000
Re Robert Scheer's "Lee Does Penance for Justice Dept.'s Sins," Commentary, July 25: The plight of Wen Ho Lee should enrage the public with the total disregard for the legal right of due process. It is evident that Lee, being held in solitary confinement (unbelievable as that may be), is a scapegoat trapped between a hostile Congress out to discredit the president and an administration trying to assure the public that security procedures are being endorsed. Meanwhile, Lee has been deprived of his legal rights by being held without bail.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 15, 1999
Allow me to refute Earl Ofari Hutchinson's "irrefutable" evidence that James Earl Ray killed Martin Luther King Jr. (Commentary, Dec. 10). It's true that his fingerprints were found on the alleged murder weapon, and that Ray confessed. However, he confessed after being locked up in solitary confinement, forbidden from talking to his lawyer, for about a month. Once released, he immediately recanted. The courts didn't accept his reversal, so nobody bothered to perform ballistic tests on the alleged weapon.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 28, 1991
How refreshing to see the commentary by Enzensberger. He stated what I have been thinking since last August; that is, Saddam Hussein is nothing more and nothing less than the second coming of Adolf Hitler. We and the coalition forces should be devoting our time to ferreting out this psychopathic monster before he commits suicide in his bunker. He could then be placed in solitary confinement for the rest of his natural life, a very fitting punishment for one who survives only by being surrounded by people whom he feeds off of. D.L. SMALL Orange
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