Bureau of Prisons Acts to Cut Back on Solitary Confinement

By Christopher Zoukis While prison systems and corrections officer unions are often reluctant to discuss the ills of solitary confinement, following pressure from various advocacy groups and even President Obama’s stated policy goals of reducing such restrictive confinement, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has recently released information detailing just how common the practice of solitary […]

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Safety and Segregation: The uneasy relationship between violence and solitary confinement

A bizarre development out of New York has prisoners’ and human rights activists scratching their heads this week. It’s best summed up by The Nation’s headline for an article discussing the matter: “Rikers is Reforming Solitary Confinement—With More Solitary Confinement?”  There’s little question as to Rikers infamy as a penal institution. Despite decreasing the number […]

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More than bricks and mortar: the relationship between architecture and recidivism

This week New York Governor Cuomo revealed the intention to transform a notorious former women’s prison into a site providing resources and assistance to women in need. The announcement served not only as reminder of the symbolic representation such buildings hold, but of the power inherent of the physical structures themselves. Changes in the physical structures of prisons over time tend […]

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When disability becomes punishment

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been talking about compassionate release, specifically as it relates to the seriously ill and elderly. While it doesn’t precisely fit into the same discussion, individuals with disabilities face many of the same challenges. Some prisoners’ disabilities may indeed make them candidates for release, but regardless of their status […]

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A reason for hope?

As we highlighted on the prison law blog last week, President Barack Obama’s recent comments on the need for a dramatic overhaul of the American prison system has ignited dialogue on reform. There has been almost universal acknowledgement from analysts and activists alike that we are on the precipice of something big. His speech seems […]

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Mental illness and slow death by solitary confinement

On June 7th, the American prison system took another life. Kalief Browder had not been confined behind the walls of a prison for several months, but the system remains largely responsible for his death nonetheless. On that Saturday afternoon, Kalief’s mother made the discovery that no parent should have to endure: he had hanged himself […]

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