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HRDC Congressional comments on solitary confinement June 2012

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Reassessing Solitary Confinement: The Human Rights, Fiscal and
Public Safety Consequences



June 19, 2012


“It’s an awful thing, solitary. It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more
effectively than any other form of mistreatment.”
U.S. Senator John McCain, on his treatment as a P.O.W. 1

The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to
protecting the rights of persons incarcerated in prisons, jails and other detention facilities. HRDC
publishes Prison Legal News (PLN), a monthly print magazine that reports on issues related to
criminal justice and civil rights. PLN has published continuously since 1990 and has extensively
covered topics related to solitary confinement and isolation units in the U.S. prison system.
This Statement is not intended as a comprehensive examination of the serious issue of
solitary confinement (also referred to herein as segregation); rather, it is intended to provide the
Subcommittee with salient points that may be of interest when considering this topic. Other
organizations that focus on solitary confinement, including Solitary Watch, 2 the Segregation
Reduction Project of the Vera Institute of Justice, 3 the American Friends Service Committee’s
STOPMAX campaign 4 and the Stop Solitary project of the American Civil Liberties Union, 5 can
provide more detailed information.
Solitary Confinement: The Past
Solitary confinement in the U.S. prison system has a lengthy history, dating back to the nation’s
first prison, the Walnut Street Jail, established in Philadelphia. In 1790, legislation authorized
the construction of 16 small, individual cells at the Walnut Street Jail where prisoners were kept
in isolation. 6 Under what became known as the Pennsylvania System, prisoners were held in
solitary confinement and segregated from each other almost all of the time, including during
meals. The Pennsylvania System was intended to induce penitence and reformation by providing
prisoners with time alone to contemplate their sins. 7

Richard Kozar, John McCain (Overcoming Adversity), Chelsea House Pub. (2001)
As stated by Alexis de Tocqueville after visiting the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia in 1831, “Thrown
into solitude he reflects. Placed alone in view of his crime, [the prisoner] learns to hate it; and if his soul be not yet
surfeited with crime, and thus have lost all taste for anything better, it is in solitude, where remorse will come to
assail him.” Gustave Beaumont and Alexis de Tocqueville, On the Penitentiary System in the United States and its
Applicability to France (Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University, 1964) (originally published 1833)


However, problems were noted even during the early years when solitary confinement
was used as a form of correctional management, and the Pennsylvania System eventually fell
out of favor. When Charles Dickens toured the United States in 1842, he visited the Eastern
State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania and commented on conditions at that facility, including the
use of segregation. He wrote:
The system here, is rigid, strict, and hopeless solitary confinement. I believe it, in
its effects, to be cruel and wrong. In its intention, I am well convinced that it is
kind, humane, and meant for reformation; but I am persuaded that those who
devised this system of Prison Discipline, and those benevolent gentlemen who
carry it into execution, do not know what it is that they are doing. I believe that
very few men are capable of estimating the immense amount of torture and agony
which this dreadful punishment, prolonged for years, inflicts upon the sufferers....
I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain, to be
immeasurably worse than any torture of the body: and because its ghastly signs
and tokens are not so palpable to the eye and sense of touch as scars upon the
flesh; because its wounds are not upon the surface, and it extorts few cries that
human ears can hear; therefore I the more denounce it, as a secret punishment
which slumbering humanity is not roused up to stay. 8
A more detailed account of the history of solitary confinement in the U.S. prison system, from its
inception to its modern usage, is presented in “The Resistable Rise and Predictable Fall of the
U.S. Supermax,” by Stephen F. Eisenman. 9
Solitary Confinement: The Present
According to a 2005 study, an estimated 25,000 prisoners are held in solitary confinement in
U.S. prisons, jails and detention facilities. 10 Solitary confinement takes several forms, including
placement in isolation units, often called Security Housing Units (SHUs) or Special Management
Units (SMUs) but more commonly known in prison vernacular as “the hole.” Prisoners may be
placed in solitary for a myriad of reasons, including their security custody level, administrative
segregation (ad-seg), disciplinary segregation and even protective custody. 11 Thus, the actual
number of prisoners held in solitary confinement is likely much higher, and was estimated at
more than 81,600 according to a 2005 Bureau of Justice Statistics report. 12
Supermax facilities are literally built around the concept of solitary confinement. The
federal Bureau of Prisons operates the supermax ADX prison in Florence, Colorado, and at least
44 states operate supermax facilities, including Pelican Bay State Prison in California and Red
Onion State Prison in Virginia. 13 Some jails (including Rikers Island in New York City), as well
as women’s prisons and juvenile facilities, also maintain solitary confinement units. 14


Charles Dickens, American Notes for General Circulation, Chapman & Hall (1842)
Daniel P. Mears, Urban Institute, “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Supermax Prisons” (2006)


Conditions in Solitary Confinement
Solitary confinement is generally defined as isolating prisoners in individual cells for a majority
of the time, usually 22-24 hours a day, with minimal contact with other people. 15 Prisoners eat,
sleep, use the toilet and live in such conditions for extended periods that last up to decades.16
When they leave their cells they are usually handcuffed and shackled, even to go shower.
Access to work and education programs, phones, visitation and even reading material is
often curtailed (in the latter case, with the approval of the U.S. Supreme Court 17 ). According to
a 2008 American Friends Service Committee report, “Buried Alive: Long-Term Isolation in
California’s Youth and Adult Prisons,” the lights in segregation cells may be left on 24 hours a
day, some solitary confinement cells have no windows, and out-of-cell exercise (30-60 minutes
per day) is usually provided in an enclosed “dog-run” or outdoor cage. 18
While it is far removed from the reality, one way to experience solitary confinement
firsthand is to lock oneself in a bathroom – which is the approximate size of an 8x10’ cell and
contains the same amenities of a toilet and sink – and remain there for a period of several years,
with meals being delivered through a slot in the door.
Solitary confinement was described by one U.S. District Court as follows:
Inmates on Level One at the State of Wisconsin’s Supermax Correctional
Institution in Boscobel, Wisconsin spend all but four hours a week confined to a
cell. The “boxcar” style door on the cell is solid except for a shutter and a trap
door that opens into the dead space of a vestibule through which a guard may
transfer items to the inmate without interacting with him. The cells are
illuminated 24 hours a day. Inmates receive no outdoor exercise. Their personal
possessions are severely restricted: one religious text, one box of legal materials
and 25 personal letters. They are permitted no clocks, radios, watches, cassette
players or televisions. The temperature fluctuates wildly, reaching extremely high
and low temperatures depending on the season. A video camera rather than a
human eye monitors the inmate’s movements. Visits other than with lawyers are
conducted through video screens. 19
Who is Placed in Solitary?
Corrections officials frequently claim that the “worst of the worst” prisoners are held in solitary
confinement – those who pose a threat to prison staff, security or other prisoners. While that is
true in some cases, other prisoners are placed in segregation because they are perceived as being
“troublemakers” due to their religious or political beliefs, or because they exercise their
Constitutional right to file grievances and lawsuits, 20 or violate prison rules.

Federal prisoner Tom Silverstein, for example, has been held in solitary confinement since 1983. Louisiana
prisoners Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, two of the Angola Three, served 36 years in solitary confinement
before being moved to another prison in 2008; the third Angola Three prisoner, Robert King, was released in 2001
after spending 29 years in solitary
Jones’El v. Berge, 164 F.Supp.2d 1096, 1098 (W.D. Wis. 2001)
Previously, the website for the Tamms supermax prison in Illinois said the facility housed “some of the most
litigious inmates in the department’s custody.” See:


Few if any prison systems have clear, objective standards for placing prisoners in solitary
confinement based on the severity of their actual conduct, particularly when they do not pose a
threat to prison staff or other prisoners. Corrections officials have almost unfettered discretion in
deciding whether a prisoner should be held in segregation, which can lead to arbitrary results.
Also, after spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build and staff supermax prisons,
corrections officials may feel the need to keep them full to justify their existence. If there is an
insufficient number of violent or dangerous prisoners to fill the supermax beds, then the criteria
for placement in segregation are relaxed so that other prisoners can occupy solitary confinement
units. Thus, it is not surprising that prisoners are sometimes placed in segregation “for petty
annoyances like refusing to get out of the shower quickly enough.” 21
Consider that the California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Section 3315, outlines dozens
of “Serious Rule Violations” that may result in “segregation from the general population.” Such
serious infractions include “possession of five dollars or more without authorization,” “tattooing
or possession of tattoo paraphernalia,” “refusal to perform work or participate in a program as
ordered or assigned,” “participation in gambling,” and “self mutilation or attempted suicide for
the purpose of manipulation.” 22
In Virginia, a number of prisoners who practice the Rastafarian religion have been held
in segregation for over a decade. Those prisoners were not placed in solitary because they were
violent, incited a riot or similar reasons. Rather, they refused – based on their religious beliefs –
to cut their hair. Rastafarians let their hair grow in dreadlocks and do not trim their beards,
which conflicts with the grooming policy of the Virginia Department of Corrections. 23
Consequently, Rastafarian prisoners who refused to cut their hair were kept in solitary.
According to a June 2010 Associated Press article, 48 Virginia prisoners were placed in
segregation because they would not follow the prison system’s grooming policy. 24 In November
2010, 31 Rastafarian prisoners were released from segregation and transferred to another facility;
however, some were returned to solitary confinement several months later after they refused to
participate in a program that required them to cut their hair and shave their beards. 25 The use of
prolonged segregation to punish Rastafarian prisoners who will not comply with the prison
system’s grooming policy has been upheld by the federal courts. 26
Also, in Louisiana, a trio of prisoners known as the Angola Three 27 was held in solitary
for up to 36 years, not because they continued to be violent but because in the 1970s they were
involved with forming a Black Panther chapter while incarcerated. Angola prison warden Burl
Cain said of one of the Angola Three prisoners in a deposition, “He wants to organize. He wants
to be defiant.... He is still trying to practice Black Pantherism, and I still would not want him
walking around my prison because he would organize the young new prisoners.” 28 When asked

McRae v. Johnson, 261 Fed.Appx. 554 (4th Cir. 2008); Smith v. Ozmint, 396 Fed.Appx. 944 (4th Cir. 2010).
Albert Woodfox, Herman Wallace and Robert King; Woodfox and Wallace were convicted of killing a prison
guard, while King was convicted of murdering another prisoner (that conviction was later overturned; he pleaded
guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was released in 2001)


whether the Angola Three were political prisoners, Warden Cain responded, “Well, yes. Well,
no, I don’t like the word political.” 29
It is clear that in some cases, prisoners are held in solitary confinement in U.S. prisons
due to their religious and political beliefs, not because they are violent or dangerous. In other
cases – particularly in California – prisoners are placed in segregation because they are deemed
to be “validated” gang members or are suspected of having ties to prison gangs. “There is no
other state in the country that keeps so many inmates in solitary confinement for so long,” stated
Alexis Agathocleous, a staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. 30 Around 15,000
prisoners are held in segregation in California alone. 31
However, the determination by prison officials that a prisoner is a gang member may be
incorrect, as was the case with California state prisoner Ernesto Lira, who was “validated” as a
gang member and placed in an isolation unit for 8 years. On September 20, 2009, following a
four-week trial, a U.S. District Court held that Lira’s gang validation was not supported by
accurate or reliable evidence and his due process rights had been violated. The court found that
as a result of his lengthy stint in solitary, Lira suffered clinical depression and PTSD. His record
was expunged and he was awarded over $1 million in attorney fees. 32
But far exceeding the above examples, one type of offender is “vastly overrepresented” in
segregation units: prisoners with mental illnesses. 33
Solitary Confinement and Mental Health
Because the negative impact of solitary confinement on prisoners’ mental health is so well
established, it will not be discussed at great length in this Statement. A large body of research
has found that solitary confinement results in a plethora of mental health problems; 34 that
prisoners placed in segregation are more likely to commit suicide than those not held in such
conditions; 35 and that solitary confinement is particularly damaging for people who have preexisting mental health issues or are otherwise vulnerable, such as juveniles.
As Judge Richard Posner with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit put it,
“there is plenty of medical and psychological literature concerning the ill effects of solitary
confinement (of which segregation is a variant).” 36

Wilkerson v. Stalder, U.S.D.C. (M.D. La.), Case No. 00-cv-00304-RET-DLD (Docket No. 233), online at:
E.g., see: Bruce A. Arrigo and Jennifer Leslie Bullock, “The Psychological Effects of Solitary Confinement on
Prisoners in Supermax Units,” International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology (2008);
Craig Haney, “Mental Health Issues in Long-Term Solitary and ‘Supermax’ Confinement,” Crime & Delinquency
49, no. 1 (2003); Stuart Grassian, M.D., “Psychopathological Effects of Solitary Confinement.” American Journal of
Psychiatry (1983)
Davenport v. DeRobertis, 844 F.2d 1310, 1316 (7th Cir. 1988); also see: Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F.Supp. 1146,
1230 (N.D. Cal. 1995) (“Social science and clinical literature have consistently reported that when human beings are
subjected to social isolation and reduced environmental stimulation, they may deteriorate mentally and in some
cases develop psychiatric disturbances”)


Nor is this a new development. In 1890, the U.S. Supreme Court noted problems with
solitary confinement in relation to prisoners’ mental health:
The peculiarities of this system were the complete isolation of the prisoner from
all human society, and his confinement in a cell of considerable size, so arranged
that he had no direct intercourse with or sight of any human being, and no
employment or instruction.... But experience demonstrated that there were serious
objections to it. A considerable number of the prisoners fell, after even a short
confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible
to arouse them, and others became violently insane; others still, committed
suicide; while those who stood the ordeal better were not generally reformed, and
in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of any subsequent
service to the community. 37
Solitary confinement can be accurately described as an effective means of driving the sane
insane, while making the insane even more mentally ill. This is in no small part because people
are social by nature and need social interaction to maintain a healthy mental state. 38
As one U.S. District Court stated, “[Solitary confinement] units are virtual incubators of
psychoses – seeding illness in otherwise healthy inmates and exacerbating illness in those
already suffering from mental infirmities.” 39
It is hard to appreciate the scope and seriousness of mental health problems that result
from solitary confinement without reading accounts of prisoners who cut their “arms and legs
with chips of paint and concrete,” smear themselves and their cells with feces, strangle
themselves with their clothes, swallow glass, and cut out their own testicles. 40 Or the Texas
prisoner, held in segregation on death row, who gouged out and ate his one remaining eye. 41
Release from Solitary Confinement
Significantly, many prisoners are in segregation because they have pre-existing mental health
problems that make it difficult for them to follow prison rules. 42 Once in segregation they
decompensate, which makes it almost impossible for them to “earn” their way out of solitary
through good behavior, because that involves following additional rules and regulations. This
creates a Catch-22 that keeps mentally ill prisoners in solitary for extended periods of time,
although such prisoners could be better managed with mental health treatment. 43
In other cases, prisoners are not released from segregation unless they become informants
for prison officials or complete their sentences and are released – typically known as “snitch,
parole or die” policies, 44 as those are the only ways out of solitary confinement. With respect to
“validated” gang members, however, prisoners who are erroneously validated and are not in fact


In re Medley, 134 U.S. 160, 168 (1890)
Ruiz v Johnson, 154 F.Supp.2d 975 (S.D. Tex. 2001)


gang members cannot snitch (“debrief”), since they are not members of a gang; thus, they too
cannot “earn” their way out of segregation. Such was the case with Ernesto Lira.
Don Specter, director of the Prison Law Office in California, noted that although
prisoners “identified as gang members are granted periodic hearings, under the current policy
they are not allowed to confront their accusers – or even to know who their accusers are. Nor can
they cross-examine witnesses, present their own evidence or argue their case before a neutral
decision maker, all basic rights afforded to defendants in the outside judicial system.” 45
In short, in many cases there are no specific criteria governing release from segregation.
While most prison systems have a formal review process, in which a prisoner’s placement in
solitary is reviewed on a regular basis to determine whether they should be released (typically
every 30-90 days), the review process is usually pro forma, with prison staff rubber-stamping
decisions to renew terms of solitary confinement ad infinitum.
Although the reviews constitute minimal due process for prisoners placed and held in
segregation, in practice very little process is due and there is no meaningful, independent review
of decisions to keep prisoners in solitary for years or even decades. When such decisions are
challenged, the courts typically defer to the “informed discretion of corrections officials.” 46
Solitary Confinement and Public Safety
The vast majority of prisoners, including those in segregation, will one day be released. When
they return to the community, prisoners held in prolonged solitary confinement, with little social
interaction or ability to participate in education, treatment or other rehabilitative programs, will
have a much more difficult time assimilating into society. This translates to higher recidivism
rates, which in turn implicate public safety concerns.
According to recidivism data released by the California Department of Corrections in
November 2011, the one-year recidivism rate for prisoners held in SHUs was 52.2%, compared
with 47.6% for prisoners not assigned to SHUs. At two years, the recidivism rate was 64.9% for
prisoners held in SHUs compared with 60.2% for non-SHU prisoners; at three years the rates
were 69.8% and 64.8%, respectively. 47
Further, in a 2006 report, the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons
warned that “the misuse of segregation works against the process of rehabilitating people,
thereby threatening public safety.”
This is particularly true for prisoners released directly from segregation units to the
community with no post-release supervision (i.e., prisoners who expire their sentences rather
than being released on parole). The Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons
stated, “Prisoners often are released directly from solitary confinement and other high-security
units directly to the streets, despite the clear dangers of doing so.” 48
The Commission cited “a large study of former prisoners in Washington” 49 that “tracked
rearrest rates among people released from prison in 1997 and 1998, a total of 8,000 former
Turner v. Safley, 490 U.S. 78, 90 (1987); see also, Sharon Dolovich, “Forms of Deference in Prison Law,”
Federal Sentencing Reporter, Vol. 24, No. 4, p.245 (April 2012)


prisoners.” The study found that prisoners who had spent at least three continuous months in
segregation, and often much longer, “were somewhat more likely than the others to commit new
felonies. And among the repeat offenders, formerly segregated prisoners were much more likely
to commit violent crimes.” Further, prisoners “who were released directly from segregation had a
much higher rate of recidivism than individuals who spent some time in the normal prison setting
before returning to the community: 64 percent compared with 41 percent.” 50
Additionally, in Illinois, the average recidivism rate for adult prisoners for the two years
prior to the opening of the Tamms supermax facility in 1998 was 42.5 percent. In the two years
after the supermax opened, the recidivism rate averaged 46.2 percent. In the following two years
(fiscal years 2000-2001), the average recidivism rate was 54.5 percent. Thus, recidivism rates in
Illinois increased by more than 28 percent from 1996 to 2001, despite – or potentially due to –
the opening of a supermax in which hundreds of prisoners were placed in segregation. 51
Solitary Confinement: The Future
According to the 2006 report by the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons:
There is growing consensus that correctional systems should rely less on segregation, using it only when absolutely necessary to protect prisoners and staff – and
that further reforms are needed. Keeping people locked down for hours on end is
counter-productive in the long run. To the extent that safety allows, prisoners in
segregation should have opportunities to better themselves through treatment,
work, and study, and to feel part of a community, even if it is a highly controlled
community. 52
Several state prison systems have taken steps to reduce their use of solitary confinement, and
have not experienced adverse effects as a result. Unfortunately, in many cases such changes have
occurred due to lawsuits and not because prison officials have recognized and voluntarily
intervened to remediate the many problems associated with segregation.
In June 2010, as a result of protracted and adversarial litigation, Mississippi agreed to
close Unit 32, a supermax unit at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman. Prison officials
had described prisoners held in Unit 32 as the “worst of the worst.” Such prisoners “were
permanently locked down in solitary confinement with no possibility of earning their way to a
less restrictive environment through good behavior.” 53
Following a consent decree entered in 2006, programs were developed whereby prisoners
could earn their way out of solitary confinement through good behavior. They were allowed out
of their cells, were permitted to eat meals together, and recreational activities and rehabilitative
programs were provided. 54 Violence decreased and the population at Unit 32 was reduced from
1,000 to 150 by late 2007. 55
Mississippi DOC Commissioner Christopher Epps changed his mind about conditions at
Unit 32 during the course of the litigation. “If you treat people like animals, that’s exactly the


way they’ll behave,” he said. Epps, who is also the president-elect of the American Correctional
Association, noted that transitioning prisoners in Unit 32 out of solitary confinement “...worked
out just fine. We didn’t have a single incident.” 56
In April 2007, the State of New York agreed to settle a lawsuit challenging the placement
of mentally ill prisoners in segregation. 57 The settlement requires the state to create “new mental
health treatment programs for prisoners with serious mental illness who have SHU and keeplock
sentences, and requires the state to provide at least two hours a day of out of cell treatment and
programming to all prisoners with serious mental illness remaining in SHU. It requires reviews
of disciplinary sentences for inmates with serious mental illness to reduce their sentences and
divert them from SHU.” 58
New York subsequently enacted legislation that established safeguards for mentally ill
prisoners, including mental health and suicide prevention screening for prisoners placed in
segregation; diverting prisoners with serious mental illnesses “from segregated confinement,
where such confinement could potentially be for a period in excess of thirty days, to a residential
mental health treatment unit”; reviews every 14 days for mentally ill prisoners not diverted from
segregation; and staff training on how to deal with mentally ill prisoners. 59
In Maine, as a result of voluntary action by DOC Commissioner Joseph Ponte, the
number of prisoners held in the Maine State Prison’s solitary confinement unit has been reduced
by more than half. Ponte, who was appointed in 2011, ordered that prisoners not be placed in
solitary for more than 72 hours without his approval. He also asked prison staff to impose
informal sanctions rather than segregation when prisoners commit rule infractions; removed
prisoners from the supermax unit who did not belong there; stopped violent “cell extractions” of
uncooperative or unruly prisoners; and instituted other reforms recommended by a panel of
corrections officials that had studied solitary confinement-related issues. 60
In 2007, Indiana agreed to remove seriously mentally ill prisoners from segregation units
as part of a settlement agreement in a class-action lawsuit. The court had found that solitary
confinement inflicted extreme social isolation and sensory deprivation on mentally ill prisoners;
the settlement specified that such prisoners would receive mental health evaluations and
treatment, among other provisions. 61
Additionally, two prisoners at the Pelican Bay State Prison in California, Todd Ashker
and Danny Troxell, filed suit in 2009 challenging their lengthy periods of solitary confinement.
Both had spent over 20 years in segregation in 8x10’ windowless cells. In May 2012, the Center
for Constitutional Rights took over representation in the lawsuit and amended it to include
hundreds of other prisoners held in solitary confinement. 62 According to statistics released by
California prison officials in 2011, 513 prisoners at Pelican Bay have been kept in segregation
for 10 years or more; of those, 78 have been held in solitary for 20 years or more. 63 The case
remains pending. 64

N.Y. Correct. Law §§ 137, 401, 401(A)(2008); N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law § 45.07(Z) (2011)
Ashker v. Brown, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Cal.), Case No. 4:09-cv-05796-CW


Solitary confinement presents a host of problems, especially for prisoners who are mentally ill –
although all prisoners placed in segregation, whether mentally ill or not, are at risk of adverse
effects. There are few objective standards and little meaningful due process when placing and
keeping prisoners in solitary confinement. Conditions in solitary, including the inherent lack of
social interaction, result in physical and mental harm to prisoners. In some cases, prisoners are
placed in segregation not because they are violent or dangerous but rather due to their religious
or political beliefs, or because they file complaints or commit minor rule violations. Studies
indicate that prisoners held in solitary confinement have higher rates of recidivism following
their release from prison, thereby endangering public safety.
Prolonged placement in solitary confinement is constitutionally questionable, and
lawsuits have increasingly challenged such practices. As a result of litigation – and voluntarily
in some cases – a number of states have taken steps to reduce the use of solitary confinement in
their prison systems without negatively impacting institutional security.
For these reasons, solitary confinement should be curtailed and used only in cases where
it is essential to ensure the safety of prison staff or other prisoners, and then only for periods of
time necessary to meet such safety-related needs. There must be regular, meaningful reviews of
continued placement in segregation and clear standards for release from segregation. Further,
whenever possible, mentally ill prisoners should not be held in solitary confinement.

This Statement is submitted on behalf of the
Human Rights Defense Center by:
Executive Director Paul Wright. Mr. Wright founded the Human Rights Defense Center and
serves as the editor of Prison Legal News. He was incarcerated for 17 years in the Washington
State prison system.
Associate Director Alex Friedmann. Mr. Friedmann serves as the associate editor of Prison
Legal News, president of the Private Corrections Institute, and is a regional representative for
the National Criminal Justice Association. He was incarcerated for 10 years in Tennessee.

Human Rights Defense Center
P.O. Box 2420
W. Brattleboro, VT 05303
(802) 257-1342