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 Emma Hogan and Hannah Bolotin
One man currently looking at over a year in solitary confinement as he waits to start mandatory anger management programming writes: “Currently, they aren’t doing anything because no one knows this is going on and those who do don’t care.”
Over 200 individuals currently in solitary confinement in Washington State are being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment due to the Department of Corrections’ (DOC) severe mishandling of COVID-19 adjustments. Incarcerated individuals who receive violent infractions have historically been sent to solitary confinement for a year or less as they complete a required behavioral change class — though the DOC was already moving away from using solitary confinement in recent years as evidence builds that this practice increases future behavioral issues, induces trauma, and catalyzes existing or new mental health issues. However, during the pandemic, this issue has taken on a new level of what is widely considered torture: The DOC has responded to COVID-19 restrictions by keeping the same course completion requirements but cutting class sizes in half, resulting in waitlists for required courses over a year long. And as a result, the majority of these individuals are forced to spend extended periods of time in solitary confinement.
This blatant malpractice was detailed by one of the many individuals experiencing it — a man who is trapped in solitary and is expected to remain on the waitlist for at least 13 more months — in a letter to his mother that she has since circulated in an effort to spread his message.
Continue reading OPINION: Washington’s DOC Is Trapping Incarcerated Men in Solitary Confinement