Solitary Confinement

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Reflections on the Lake

Natalie Holbrook

Natalie Holbrook

Natalie Holbrook directs AFSC's Criminal Justice Program in Michigan.

California solitary confinement hearings bring home the human cost

Laura Magnani

Laura Magnani of AFSC’s San Francisco office is a nationally known expert on solitary confinement.

On February 25th, AFSC participated in a hearing focused on the reality of new policies intended to change the practice of gang validation in prison, which presently leads many prisoners to be held in solitary confinement indefinitely based on their association with people whom prison staff perceives as gang members. 

Community Forum: Arizona is Maxed Out

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Join AFSC and the ACLU of Arizona and for the Arizona is Maxed Out kick-off event to learn more about conditions in Arizona prisons and the impact of solitary confinement on mental health and re-entry.

The community forum will feature presentations about pending ACLU litigation and AFSC’s report on prisoner re-entry after solitary.


Facebook Q&A with "Lifetime Lockdown" Authors

Thursday, August 9, 2012 - 2:00pm - 3:00pm

During this online chat, Caroline and Matt of AFSC's Arizona office will field your questions about solitary confinement in Arizona, what AFSC is doing to end it, and how you can help.

To participate, write on the event wall before the chat starts, or join the conversation on Facebook as it happens on Thursday, Aug. 9.

Lifetime Lockdown: Mike's Story

To some, Mike (not his real name) may fit the stereotype of someone who accepted his role as a repeat offender. In and out of Arizona prisons for 40 years, he never managed more than a few years of freedom at a time, and usually less; he often returned to prison within a few days or months.

Survivors Manual By, For Those Suffering In Solitary

survivors manual

survivor's manual cover page , outline of a man crouched with head down

A manual written by and for people living in control units.
Download (PDF)

Quaker group presents book of prisoners’ own tips on mental, physical, spiritual survival

PHILADELPHIA (July 26, 2012) – The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) this month is releasing the fifth edition of “Survivors Manual: Survival in Solitary” a collection of letters, poetry and practical advice on surviving the miseries of solitary confinement in prisons.

Update: US Senate Judiciary Committee Examines Solitary Confinement

Led by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 19 held a first ever all-day hearing on solitary confinement in US prisons, “Reassessing Solitary Confinement: The Human Rights, Fiscal and Public Safety Consequences”.  Important testimony was presented on the impact of such confinement on prisoners, and the widespread use of it, and the link between solitary and other forms of torture was emphasized.

Update: After CDCR Prison Hunger Strikes, Implementing Solitary Confinement Changes

On December 28, AFSC Regional Director Laura Magnani and another member of the “mediation team” met with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Undersecretary Terri McDonald to discuss CDCR progress on changing policies and procedures for gang validation into the SHUs (security housing units).  In that meeting, Undersecretary McDonald stated the following points.

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