‘Solitary by Another Name’: How Efforts to Reform Solitary Confinement Are Being Derailed by Corrections Departments

August 6, 2021

...A class action lawsuit (Ashker v. Governor of California)—brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of a group of incarcerated people—led to a 2015 settlement that included several major restrictions to solitary confinement, including returning many people in solitary back to the general prison population.

But since then, the Center for Constitutional Rights has argued that the state’s department of corrections violated the agreement. “We found that a lot of our clients were being moved out of solitary confinement and put into Level IV ‘general population’ units,” says Rachel Meeropol, a lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “They had the same or even less out of cell time  than they had had in solitary confinement [fewer than ten hours out of cell per week].” 

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation also created a new “walk alone” status, Meeropol notes, where people were also experiencing solitary by another name. A district court judge ruled that the state had violated the 2015 settlement, but a ninth circuit judge overturned the ruling (and the Center for Constitutional Rights has petitioned for a rehearing). ...

Read the full piece here.

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August 6, 2021