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 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.
This will be an opportunity to hear from Robert King, one of the Angola Three, about the use of prolonged isolation in our prisons. Robert King was held in solitary confinement for 29 years. Since his release King has worked tirelessly to expose the injustices of the American penal system perpetrated against African-Americans and poor people.
We will also hear from family members whose children are in isolation and explore actions that we can take to end prolonged isolation in our prisons.
January 11th 2013 was the 11th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp which has become a symbol of our country’s torture policy. It was also the day that the new movie about the capture of Osama Bin Laden, “Zero Dark Thirty” came out in movie theatres around the country.
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.
This summer's JustFaith 'JustMatters' group is coordinating a public witness and prayer service for an end to torture. On Tuesday, June 26, the United Nation's International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the JustMatters group will lead a public witness on the corner of University and Merle Hay Rd. The public witness will take place from 5:30-6pm, with a prayer service at St. Theresa Church to follow from 6-6:30pm.
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.