by Heidi Sadri
In 2020, a man incarcerated at Monroe Correctional Complex was accused of organizing a hunger strike (a prison organizing tactic with a powerful history) and placed in solitary confinement for a total of 112 days. Not as a punishment, though — 112 days of administrative segregation, nearly four times the 30-day limit allowable under Department of Corrections (DOC) policy. One hundred twelve days is the time it took for the prison to complete its investigation, issue an infraction, and then transfer the man to another prison where he would finally be released from solitary confinement. An investigative report by the Office of the Corrections Ombuds (OCO) found multiple instances in 2020 and 2021 of the Monroe prison holding people in administrative segregation for extended periods of time while they investigated alleged infractions. One man was isolated for 257 days until inquiries by the OCO prompted his release.
Continue reading OPINION: Caging the Caged — Solitary Confinement in Washington State
by Paul Faruq Kiefer
(This article was previously published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
On the morning of Wednesday, June 30, Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) staff covered part of a window at the entrance of the Twin Rivers Unit (TRU) at the Monroe Correctional Complex in Snohomish County in an attempt to lower the heat inside on a day when outside temperatures peaked at 82 degrees.
But people incarcerated in the TRU say they spent the worst of the past week’s heat wave — including a high of 111 degrees in Monroe on Monday, June 28 — in sweltering cells with no air-conditioning and few chances to cool down, while prison staff had access to air-conditioned offices when temperatures rose into the triple digits.
The newly covered window, they said, was too little, too late. But few of those living in the unit are confident that prison administrators are planning ahead for another heat wave. “These are only going to get more common,” said David, a prisoner in the TRU who spoke with PubliCola on Wednesday. “And it’s pretty clear that [the DOC] won’t be prepared for the next one.” (PubliCola is using David’s first name only to reduce the risk of retaliation.)
Continue reading Sweltering Temperatures and Minimal Preparation Left State Prisoners Struggling to Cope