Support the Isolated Confinement Restriction Act – HB5417 – by signing a witness slip for the hearings in the capitol tomorrow, April 20, 2016
Stop Overlooking Torture; Rid Illinois of Solitary Confinement
Solitary confinement has been found to be a form of torture by the United Nations, in a resolution signed by the Chicago City Council in 2012, and by humanitarians everywhere. We are urging the Illinois State Legislature to pass legislation banning solitary confinement in Illinois. Solitary confinement means a prisoner is isolated in his cell at least 23 hours a day with no human contact. Access to commissary, visits, classes and outdoor exercise is very limited. Solitary confinement leads to the physical and mental deterioration of the prisoner. Better, cheaper alternatives are mental health, educational classes and group counselling. Prison systems, such as in Mississippi, which have severely curtailed solitary confinement report less prison violence and tremendous cost savings.
Over the last week, Brian Nelson and I have worked together to record interviews with torture survivors and family members to share the stories of those most affected by solitary confinement. I’ve posted many of those interviews on this site already – below are links to the interviews. We will be adding more.
We’d like to thank Alan Mills and Uptown People’s Law Center for allowing us to use their space for interviews. Thanks to Brian Nelson for coordinating the space and interviews with many of the family members from United Voices for Prisoners. Thanks to Brian Orozco from Gregory E. Kulis and Associates, who volunteered and helped record the interviews. Thanks to Eddie from Black and Black & Pink for sharing his story. Thanks to Monica Cosby, who was just released a couple months ago, for sharing her story and helping craft the questions and video recording.
And special thanks to all the survivors and family members who have shared their stories and who are putting themselves through the pain of reliving the trauma of solitary in order to ensure that no one else suffers the torture of solitary confinement.
We hope that others will step up and join us in this struggle to end solitary confinement, and the broader struggle to end mass incarceration and the New Jim Crow.