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Solitary Confinement

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.
May 12, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
At probation camps and juvenile halls, where delinquent minors are often held, officials sometimes have no choice but to temporarily isolate disruptive juveniles for the safety of other youths and camp personnel. But as an hour turns into a day or more - and reports from some camps and halls suggest it can turn into a week or a month - temporary isolation turns into solitary confinement, a brutal practice when employed against anyone, and an especially cruel way to treat a juvenile who is still developing and does not yet have the emotional skills to bounce back from such treatment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
July 9, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
A federal judge in Baton Rouge overturned the conviction of a former Black Panther in the 1972 stabbing death of a state prison guard. Albert Woodfox, who was held in solitary confinement for more than 30 years, is one of three former Panthers known as the "Angola Three." He and two others at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola were convicted in the killing of guard Brent Miller in 1972. U.S. District Judge James Brady approved a federal magistrate's June recommendation that Woodfox's conviction be overturned because his former lawyers had failed to challenge some testimony against him. Prosecutors could retry him.
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