The second hearing on solitary confinement by the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights of the Senate Judiciary Committee were important in helping to highlighting the issue of solitary and the very fact that they are happening is a reflection of the growing awareness of the issue in our society. However, there is a real danger in focusing on just certain vulnerable parts of the prison population and not recognize that holding any person in prolonged isolation is a form of torture.
On Feb. 25, 2014, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-ILL) chaired a hearing addressing the use of solitary confinement. This followed the first-ever congressional hearing on isolation, initiated by Sen. Durbin and held in June 2012, to examine the consequences of isolation in U.S. prisons. At that time, AFSC submitted a statement, based on our decades-long efforts challenging long-term solitary confinement.
Tracing the historic development of isolation in the U.S. and its strategic use against poor and oppressed people of color and individuals who are seen as political threats, this article is based on documentary evidence from more than 30 years of interviews and letters from currently and formerly incarcerated people.
Jules Lobel, Pitt Law Professor and Center for Constitutional Rights lawyer for Pelican Bay prisoners, will relate the inspiring story of inmates overcoming gang violence and racism as they fight for their human rights. Their struggle has included a hunger strike against California’s arbitrary system of solitary confinement, which frequently locks down prisoners in isolation for decades.
Tell California officials to resume meetings with prisoners
On Aug. 19, 2013, California prison officials won a court order saying they could force-feed dozens of inmates who have been on a hunger strike for six weeks over solitary confinement conditions. This order will not end the strike, or prevent other nonviolent demonstrations.
On Saturday June 22nd over 61 people, many from faith communities, gathered at East Liberty Presbyterian Church to learn more about solitary confinement in our prisons. The event was organized by the American Friends Service Committee PA (AFSC) and members of East Liberty Presbyterian Church and Community House Presbyterian Church.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.