[Pnews] Unconstitutional Solitary Confinement Continues, Prisoners’ Attorneys Say

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Feb 26 12:32:58 EST 2018


  Unconstitutional Solitary Confinement Continues, Prisoners’ Attorneys Say

/February 23, 2018/
Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel asked a 
federal judge to order the California Department of Corrections and 
Rehabilitation (CDCR) to comply with a landmark, class action settlement 
that was intended to effectively end indefinite solitary confinement in 
California prisons. Under the settlement, nearly 1600 prisoners were 
released into general population. However, hundreds of these transfers 
were to extremely restrictive “Level IV” prisons, the highest security 
level in general population. The motion argued today 
says that this violates the terms of the settlement because Level IV 
general population units essentially mirror conditions in the Security 
Housing Units (SHUs) from which the prisoners were released.

“The conditions in ‘general population’ are similar to SHU… I have 
limited social interaction, and intellectual stimulation. I rarely go 
outside. It is difficult to find productive uses for my time. I have 
difficulty maintaining relationships with my family… I suffer from 
insomnia [and] anxiety…” class member Luis Esquivel reported in a 

Testimonials show that hundreds of prisoners moved from SHU to Level IV 
general population are experiencing similar conditions, with many 
spending the same or even /more/ time isolated in their cells than they 
were in the SHU—often 22-24 hours per day. They continue to be denied 
sufficient outdoor time, programming, jobs, and other means of social 
interaction and environmental stimulation. According to expert witness 
and former Secretary for the Washington State Department of Corrections 
Eldon Vail, many prisoners who were transferred out of the SHU into 
Level IV “general population” units receive the “lowest amount of 
out-of-cell time [Vail has] seen in [his] career as a corrections 
administrator and as a consultant/expert witness.”

“To avoid violating prisoners’ constitutional rights, the CDCR must do 
more than move prisoners to units /called/ ‘general population,’” said 
lead counsel with the Center for Constitutional Rights, *Jules Lobel*. 
“Prisoners’ conditions must actually avoid the torturous effects of 
solitary confinement that the settlement sought to end.”

In November, CCR and co-counsel asked the court to extend the terms of 
the settlement agreement 
by an additional year because substantial reforms were still needed and 
the CDCR was continuing to violate the constitutional rights of class 
members. The requested extension came concurrently with the release of 
the first-ever in-depth report <https://ccrjustice.org/solitary-report>, 
by researchers from the Human Rights in Trauma Mental Health Lab at 
Stanford University, detailing the ongoing negative health consequences 
prisoners have suffered following their release from long-term solitary 

For more information, visit CCR’s case page 

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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