Solitary Watch is a website launched two years ago that is dedicated to bringing the topic of solitary confinement in American prisons into the public conversation.
Here’s a clip from their statement of purpose:
Many Americans have recoiled from the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, and polls show that a clear majority oppose the use of torture under any circumstances, even on foreign terrorism suspects. Yet conditions of confinement in U.S. prisons and jails that transgress the boundaries of humane treatment have produced little outcry.
The use of solitary confinement in the United States provides the clearest example of this situation. Solitary confinement has grown dramatically in the past two decades. Today, at least 25,000 prisoners are being held in long-term lockdown in the nation’s ”supermax” facilities; some 50,000 to 80,000 more are held in isolation in “administrative segregation” or “special housing” units at other facilities. In other words, on any given day, as many as 100,000 people are living in solitary confinement in America’s prisons. This widespread practice has received scant media attention, and has yet to find a place in the public discourse or on political platforms.
As part of their strategy, SW posts stories about and voices of those who are now or have been held in isolation. This week, however, the voice is that of a mother whose mentally ill son—who is referred to as “A”— is in solitary in Vacaville.
I’ve not fact checked this tale, but there’s enough here to suggest that her son is in a heartbreaking situation that desperately needs examination before something tragic happens.
Here’s a clip. But read the whole thing, because a clip doesn’t do it justice.
Today I drove the 75+ miles to the California Medical Facility at Vacaville ready to meet with my son’s psychiatrist and social worker, and praying, too, that maybe, just maybe, they might feel some compassion and allow me to see him. I’d had this thought in my head that, somehow, they would let me have a “contact” visit–meaning a person to person visit, not separated by glass from one another.
I had previously expressed how important I felt it was that A receive the warmth and comfort the human touch can bring and that they would see the sense of this and let me hug my son and hold his hand, touch his face, rub his head like I use to when he was younger. He is nearly 30 now. They have him in solitary all the time now.
On the phone, the doctor had sounded so compassionate and sounded as though she was crying for A, too, as she told me how very lonely he was and how he was becoming more delusional. This was why we had set up the meeting. I had been told that it was never done; that a parent never came to meetings with the doctor or the treating team; but I had begged through the tears of a mother desperate to do whatever is necessary to bring help and comfort to my son and they had agreed…..
She never does get to see her son.
Anyway, read it.
AND IN OTHER NEWS…..IN THE LAPD RETALIATION IS STILL A PROBLEM
In a report released Monday, Nicole Bershon, the LAPD’s independent Inspector General, says that the department still has problems with officers retaliating against cops who report misconduct, and that it does not investigate retaliation allegations well at all.
Joel Rubin at the LA Times has the rest.
CLOSING 70 CALIFORNIA PARKS NOT SO EASY
Jerry Brown announced that 70 state parks are scheduled for closing as part of budget cutting but, as the the LA Times points out in an editorial on Tuesday, closing parks is a bit more complicated than some lawmakers recognize.
Jerry Brown has closing 70 California Parks on his budget cutting list. The LA Times
OH, YEAH, AND MARIA LEFT ARNOLD BECAUSE HE HAD A LOVE CHILD WITH ONE OF THE HOUSEHOLD STAFFERS WHO’D BEEN WORKING FOR THEM FOR 20 YEARS—You know, in case you, like, missed the news.