Saturday, October 22, 2016

Studies, Reports on solitary

2)Expert Reports in Ashker v. Brown
August 3, 2015
On March 13, 2015, CCR (Center for Constitutional Rights) and co-counsel submitted 10 reports in Ashker v. Brown, our federal class action lawsuit on behalf of prisoners held in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison who have spent a decade or more in solitary confinement. The reports were authored by experts in the fields of psychology, neuroscience, medicine, prison classification, prison security, international law, and international corrections. Together, these reports provide an unprecedented and holistic analysis of the impact of prolonged solitary confinement, and document severe physical and psychological harm among California SHU prisoners as a result of their isolation.
According to the experts, prisoners subjected to prolonged solitary experience a form of “social death” that is not cured upon release, but rather lingers as a “post-SHU syndrome” characterized by social withdrawal, isolation, and anxiety. The profound impact of solitary is not just psychological; plaintiffs' experts also uncovered evidence that SHU prisoners experience unusually heightened levels of hypertension, placing them at risk for serious health consequences. The international and domestic experts agree that such prolonged isolation is not only unnecessary for prison security, but actually counter-productive, as well as a violation of international law.
Finally, plaintiffs’ experts demonstrate that social interaction and physical touch are basic and fundamental human needs, the deprivation of which has serious and irreversible impacts. These reports provide valuable new evidence for prisoners and advocates fighting to end solitary confinement across the country. For more more information on the case, see Ashker v. Brown.
Last modified 
August 3, 2015

18 October 2011 – A United Nations expert on torture today called on all countries to ban the solitary confinement of prisoners except in very exceptional circumstances and for as short a time as possible, with an absolute prohibition in the case of juveniles and people with mental disabilities.
“Segregation, isolation, separation, cellular, lockdown, Supermax, the hole, Secure Housing Unit… whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by States as a punishment or extortion technique,” UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez told the General Assembly’s third committee, which deals with Segregation, isolation, separation, cellular, lockdown, Supermax, the hole, Secure Housing Unit… whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by States as a punishment or extortion techniqueal, humanitarian and cultural affairs, saying the practice could amount to torture.
“Solitary confinement is a harsh measure which is contrary to rehabilitation, the aim of the penitentiary system,” he stressed in presenting his first interim report on the practice, calling it global in nature and subject to widespread abuse.
Indefinite and prolonged solitary confinement in excess of 15 days should also be subject to an absolute prohibition, he added, citing scientific studies that have established that some lasting mental damage is caused after a few days of social isolation.
“Considering the severe mental pain or suffering solitary confinement may cause, it can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment when used as a punishment, during pre-trial detention, indefinitely or for a prolonged period, for persons with mental disabilities or juveniles,” he warned.
The practice should be used only in very exceptional circumstances and for as short a time as possible, he stressed. “In the exceptional circumstances in which its use is legitimate, procedural safeguards must be followed. I urge States to apply a set of guiding principles when using solitary confinement,” he said.

In the present report, submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 65/205, the Special Rapporteur addresses issues of special concern and recent developments in the context of his mandate. The Special Rapporteur draws the attention of the General Assembly to his assessment that solitary confinement is practised in a majority of States. He finds that where the physical conditions and the prison regime of solitary confinement cause severe mental and physical pain or suffering, when used as a punishment, during pre-trial detention, indefinitely, prolonged, on juveniles or persons with mental disabilities, it can amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and even torture. In addition, the use of solitary confinement increases the risk that acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment will go undetected and unchallenged.
The report highlights a number of general principles to help to guide States to re-evaluate and minimize its use and, in certain cases, abolish the practice of solitary confinement. The practice should be used only in very exceptional circumstances, as a last resort, for as short a time as possible. He further emphasizes the need for minimum procedural safeguards, internal and external, to ensure that all persons deprived of their liberty are treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.

The purpose of the statement
Recent years have seen an increase in the use of strict and often prolonged solitary confinement
practices in prison systems in various jurisdictions across the world. This may take the form of a
disproportionate disciplinary measure, or increasingly, the creation of whole prisons based upon a
model of strict isolation of prisoners.
While acknowledging that in exceptional cases the use of solitary confinement may be necessary, we consider this a very problematic and worrying development. We therefore consider it timely to address this issue with an expert statement on the use and effects of solitary confinement.

Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
Recognizing that these rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person.
Recognizing that, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights.
Considering the obligation of States under the Charter of the United Nations to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and freedoms.
Realizing that the individual, having duties to other individuals and to the community to which he belongs, is under a responsibility to strive for the promotion and observance of the rights recognized in the present Covenant.

Even before the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (a non-legally binding document) in 1948, broad agreement existed that the rights which were to be enshrined in the Declaration were to be transformed into legally binding obligations through the negotiation of one or more treaties. The International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)was the first treaty to be negotiated and it was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 21 December 1965 and entered into force on 4 January 1969.The International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial
The Convention in general
The Convention defines “racial discrimination” as: ‘any distinction,exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or eect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms
in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life’ (article 1). The Convention requires States parties, at all levels, to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination and to prohibit any form of racial discrimination by any persons, groups or organizations (article 2), and to adopt measures to prohibit
any forms of dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination and acts of violence and incitement of such acts, and any form of assistance to such activities (article 4). States parties by signing and ratifying the Convention undertake to guarantee civil, political, economic,
social and cultural rights, without any form of racial discrimination,regarding: participation in elections; security of person; freedom of movement; nationality; freedom of thought, conscience and
religion; freedom of opinion and expression; work; housing; public health and medical care; education; and the right to equal participation in cultural activities (article 5). The Convention also assures to everyone within the State party’s jurisdiction eective protection and remedies against any acts of racial discrimination,
and the right to seek just and adequate reparation for any damage suered following discrimination (article 6).

Mannheim Centre for Criminology
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK

With the support of the Nuffeld Foundation

1 Introduction 1
1.1 What is the Sourcebook about? 1
1.2 How is the Sourcebook structured? 1
1.3 Definition: what constitutes solitary confinement? 2
1.4 Brief historic context 2
1.5 Legal and regulatory framework 3
2 The health effects of solitary confinement 9
2.1 Introduction 9
2.2 The health effects of solitary confinement: a brief review of the literature and
prisoners’ accounts 10
2.3 The negative health effects of solitary confinement: reported symptoms 15
2.4 What makes solitary confinement harmful? 17
2.5 The duration of solitary confinement 21
2.6 Sequelae of isolation: the lasting effects of solitary confinement 22
2.7 Concluding remarks about the effects of solitary confinement 23
3 The decision to place prisoners and detainees in solitary confinement 25
3.1 When and why are prisoners and detainees placed in solitary confinement? 25
3.2 Placement in solitary confinement: procedural safeguards, and special provisions and
recommendations regarding the isolation of specific categories of prisoners 28
3.3 The human rights position and case law regarding the placement of prisoners in
solitary confinement 33
4 Design, physical conditions and regime in solitary confinement units 39
4.1 Introduction 39
4.2 International standards regarding prison conditions and regime 40
4.3 Research findings and recommendations regarding prison design and
environmental factors 49
4.4 Human rights case law regarding regime and physical conditions in segregation units 51
4.5 Concluding remarks on regime and conditions of confinement in segregation and
high security units 53
5 The role of health professionals in segregation units:
ethical, human rights and professional guidelines 57
5.1 Introduction: ethics as applied to prison medicine 57
5.2 Issues regarding prison medicine in solitary confinement units 58
5.3 Case law regarding the provision of medical care in prison 65
6 Monitoring and inspecting solitary confinement units 69
7 Summary of recommendations 73
Appendix 1 75
Selected texts
Appendix 2 78
The Istanbul statement on the use and effects of solitary confinement
Acronyms and abbreviations 83
Links & Resources 84

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Upcoming events-a listing

go to our facebook for latest also: 1)October 9, 2 to 4 pm Central Library, Milwaukee: PANEL DISCUSSION-Talib Akbar (WISDOM) and members of IWOC

2)OCTOBER 16th; 3:30-4:15 PM,
Milwaukee Repertory Theater,
108 E Wells St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Heads up: There's an alternative prisons panel discussion happening at the mke rep theater. Panelists will include Superintendent of the Milwaukee House of Correction & the Superintendent of Milwaukee Women’s Correctional Center. Wondering if anyone else is interested in attending, asking questions of those 2 in particular, networking with attendees, &/or flyering.
  • Sunday, October 16 at 3:30 PM - 4:15 PM
  • Milwaukee Repertory Theater
    108 E Wells St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
  • Find Tickets
    Tickets Available

  • More info here:

    Subject: Solitary Confinement Forum with former DOC Secretary Rick Raemisch Sept. 23 - please come!
    Former Wisconsin DOC Secretary Rick Raemisch is now head of the Colorado Department of Corrections and is a leading advocate for solitary confinement reform. You are invited to join me for this documentary and discussion.




    Friday, September 9, 2016

    Jordan cosby , hunger striker, makes statement

    Jordan Cosby  501015, WCI

    From letter 7 4 16

    Today I write you to inform you that there are more inmates here at WCI joining the hunger strike. There are also more motives to why we are striking which are
    1) Poor programming the is offered to us for rehabilitation inside the prison and outside for those who are being released.
    2)Poor health and psychological services being house in restrictive housing.
    3)Inadequate mental health treatment for inmates with a serious mental health illness. 
     I have been on strike since 6-16-16 Thursday the day I got transferred to WCI for WRC.
     I have not dranked or ate since. The reason I am striking is because I have a mental health illness and as a result of my illness I engage in self harm and suicide attempts> I currently have real bad cu marks on my arms as we speak from cutting myself very badly. I got 12 stitches in my arm right now because I cut tendons in my forearm. I over dosed on 29pills and try to commit suicide and was in a coma for 4 days. I am striking because WCI is very corrupt form PSU fabricating documentation because inmates swear at them because PSU use observation as punishing or because some inmates are exhibitors.
    I am striking because security staff are corrupt because if their negligence knowing inmates are about to harm themselves and instead of stopping them they neglect them until supervisors come. I am on strike because WCI is mistreating me just because my (MH code) mental health code is a 2B which means I have a serious mental health illness. .They are mistreating me because instead of housing me around inmates with the same MH code they house me in restrictive housing > they have what they call BHU (behavior Housing unit) where they house mentally ill inmates>I am striking because WCI is corrupt with the ICE complaint system.
    I got assaulted by two guards on December 10 , 2015 just like the inmate Shaidon Blake in Baltimore. The guards Trevor Klemmer and Gres Peterson slammed me on my face knocking my teeth out having to go to the hospital the same day still work here, still work around me, they harrass me and when I complain nothing gets done about it. This situation is the same as Mr Blake’s case: I was in full restraints , hand cuffed behind my back, shackles on my ankles, tethered to the door>I fear for my life here at WCI an have a plan to actually commit suicide.
    I constantly write Dodge county court house about getting a restraining order against them-nothing but a run around; I write Madison, Lena Taylor, Cathy Jess, inform the Warden here at WCI and nothing is getting done. I even take it to the FBI and Washington DC. I a losing hope and  I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel> ny the time you write back I hope to see some changes about WCI whether its them having these body cameras and audio systems they  had in 2014 for all the abuse that as happening in WCITHU to people with serious mental health illnesses like myself get proper mental health treatment that not in WCI segregation.
    Being house at CI messed me up for life and I will never be the same. Right now I am the only inmate in the THU that they purposely  choose to put me in the most restrictive observation placement when I engage in self harm which is strapping me down to a bed for hours. Just on 6-27-16 I cut my arm in front of a PSU staff member Dr Van Buren and she walked off. Before I cut my arm I informed her can you please put me in the safety suit she said no because you destroy them . I ask her can you place me in bed restraints because I do not feel safe >She said no because you di d not do nothing>
    once I cut my arm open to where I can stick my finger tip in the wounds he walked off. Then almost30 minutes later they strapped me down for 36 hours without giving me stitches and by me already already cut 2 tendons the day before where I got order from the doctor to move my arm around because if I don’t it will stiffen up < and I was in bed restraints for 16 hours. Another inmate named Joshua Berrios 577319  has been on strike as well and has been holding strong> I was just hospitalized for engaging in self harm.
     I  am a cutter and was told I a dying slow, I need to eat> at this point I have not got a court order to be force fed but I am told by nurses that it is coming soon. To be honest I am at the point where I want to end my life> Joshua Berrios 577319 keeps me strong sometimes> he also is on strike about low wages for work and schooling for the indigent inmates that have no source of income.


    Tuesday, August 30, 2016

    Phone Zap Governor Walker

    Please take 2 minutes to call Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and request that he make the DOC give the hunger strikers at Waupun access to bottled water.

    Who to Call:
    Governor Scott Walker (608) 266-1212

    Sample Script: "LaRon McKinley and Cesar DeLeon are on hunger strike against solitary confinement at Waupun They are not being given clean water which is putting their lives at risk. The department of corrections needs to provide them both with bottled water. You should also end this hunger strike by meeting their core demand, capping solitary confinement at one year."

    When to Call: Anytime you can, maximum impact 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM central time. For maximum impact, call daily August 29--Sep 2, Monday-Friday to put on continuous pressure. Please call for as many days as you are able, every bit helps.


    Hunger Strike at Critical Point /calls, letters, emails NEEDED to Pressure DOC


     NOW is the time to call and email the governor and Litscher. The governor is Secretary Litscher's boss.
      608-266-1212(Walker)As stated below, the prison is now waiting 72 hours before force feeding. The trouble is that the prisoners cannot drink the water, which is lead laden and wreaks havoc on an empty stomach. Cesar tried to drink it and just vomited.
    August letters: more letters in pdf form coming. This on is from LaRon McKinleyon the 24th.


    The DOC is now force feeding the LaRon McKinley and Cesar Deleon after 72 hours , when they are at brink of death from dehydration. The sporadic force feeding in itself is dangerous and can lead to a condition called "refeeding syndrome", ""the shifting of electrolytes and fluid balance increases cardiac workload and heart rate. This can lead to acute heart failure. Oxygen consumption is also decreased which strains the respiratory system" which can cause sever damage or death. The water in WCI is polluted with high lead levels . This is impossible to drink on an empty stomach. When Cesar tried to drink it , he vomited. We have asked that he and LaRon be given bottled water with no response. full press release here and below-(scroll down)

    Read LaRon's letter original
    Read LaRon's letter typed and Read Cesar's letter typed

     Now please email call and/write the warden, the DOC secretary and demanding that they: 

    1.Let Cesar DeLeon and LaRon McKinley have bottled water, let them buy as much as they want from the commissary.
    2. Put a 1 year limit on Administrative Confinement for all WI prisoners

    calls, letters, emails to

    WCI Warden Brian Foster: 920-324-5571; PO Box351, Waupun WI 53963;

    DOC secretary Jon Litscher: 608-240-5000, Po Box 7925, Madison, WI

    Your legislators:Finding your legislators and suggestions: Remember one of the most effective things you can do is get to know the aides of your aides of your legislators and let them know your personal stories- on whatever the subject. These are powerful people and CAN and DO help. Below are letter but phone calls are also effective-both is best.

    Here is the website to find out your legislators’ contact information: or just google "who are my legislators in Wisconsin"
    give your zipcode and they will give you your legislators and their emails and phones
    phone number to get contact info on legislators is: 800 362-9472 (state switchboard)
    address for senators: PO Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707
    address for representatives by last name
    a-l : PO Box 8952, Madison 53708;
    m-z : PO box 8953; Madison 53708
     Here is full press release:
    Dying to Live Hunger Strikers Kept on the Brink of Death by Retaliatory DOC
    Waupun WI- According to a letter from hunger striker LaRon McKinley, the Dying to Live hunger strike against solitary confinement at Waupun Correctional Institution (WCI) has become a serious health crisis after seventy-six days.

    On August 15, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WI DOC) decided to suspend the force feeding they have subjected the prisoners to since June 17. They allowed McKinley and Cesar DeLeon, the two most committed hunger strikers, to go without food or water for 72 hours, until they were severely dehydrated. Then they tube fed them again on Thursday August 18.
    “Presently, and for most of this week, we have been under retaliatory attack by our warden as a direct consequence of our political efforts... to force an end to prolonged Administrative Confinement,” the letter from McKinley reads.
    On Saturday August 13, a coalition of prisoner supporters from across the state gathered in Waupun to protest DOC practices and show solidarity with the hunger strike. They were greeted by offensive gestures, threats and insults by local residents, some of whom likely work at the prison.

    “We believe Warden Foster has changed the force feeding regimen in response to our protest, unfortunately, the changes are retaliatory: increasing the pain, harm and danger these men are experiencing in an effort to break their will,” says Chance Zombor, who led the march on August 13.

    A sudden intake of calories by a starved and dehydrated person causes violent metabolic shifts, leading to a potentially fatal condition called refeeding syndrome. WI DOC has begun a regimen that is very likely to cause refeeding syndrome. According to wikipedia, “the shifting of electrolytes and fluid balance increases cardiac workload and heart rate. This can lead to acute heart failure. Oxygen consumption is also decreased which strains the respiratory system.”
    When the United States Military was force-feeding suspected terrorists on hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay, they took care to first intravenously re-hydrate the starving people to prevent refeeding syndrome. In Waupun, the DOC only allows the prisoners to drink lead-polluted water from the 165 year old institution, which causes diarrhea and exacerbates their dehydration.
    McKinley suspects the DOC is intentionally keeping them on the brink of death. According to his letter, after 42 hours without food or water—because they refused to drink Waupun's polluted water, he and Cesar DeLeon, “were diagnosed as seriously dehydrated, and the tube feeding was then recommended, but this time they made us both go exactly 30 more hours, to exactly 72 hours each. Seventy Two hours without water is a well known and medically held time limit that would and is generally believed to kill most people.”

    The hunger strikers believe Waupun staff will continue force feeding them every 72 hours in an effort to make the hunger strike as unbearable as possible. McKinley's letter goes on to describe his body's response, which mirrors the symptoms of refeeding syndrome: “due to the stress and ordeal that our bodies had gone through, they kind of reacted as if they had been poisoned when said fluids were eventually forced into the stomach.”

    Outside supporters are demanding that the DOC allow LaRon McKinley and Cesar DeLeon to drink bottled water, and that Wisconsin meet the striker's central demand: a one-year cap on any form of solitary confinement. They are asking people to contact Warden Foster, DOC Secretary Jon Litscher, and Governor Scott Walker. More information, including phone numbers and email addresses can be found at