Across the ‘Bridge of Pain’

How the Rikers Island Jail became America’s most infamous penitentiary. Rikers Island: 415 acres of prison mismanagement. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons) by Will Di Novi In the 18 months since he became mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio has made several trips across a 4,200-foot causeway in the city’s East River. To the Queens […]

The Violence of Police Politrikz

by Steve Martinot The “dementia” of police behavior is reflected in U.S. prisons, where punishment is justified by the fact of incarceration. “Solitary confinement is imposed on those who think critically and politically.” On the street, police dementia is policy. “In profiling, the police commit an act of suspicion, and then look for a crime […]

How Racist Iz Solitary Confinement?

It hardly bears repeating that people of color are incarcerated in staggering numbers. But a new study authored by health officials with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) shows that racial disparities in jail run far deeper: black and Hispanic inmates are vastly more likely to be punished with solitary […]

Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie

A Prison Policy Initiative briefing By Peter Wagner and Leah Sakala Wait, does the United States have 1.4 million or more than 2 million people in prison? And do the 688,000 people released every year include those getting out of local jails? Frustrating questions like these abound because our systems of federal, state, local, and […]

Defying the Tomb, Defying Illogic

Jared A. Ball *Originally published as a radio column 09/20/2011 Earlier this year when we received word of an attempt by Maryland prison officials to ban the recently published book by former Black Panther Party leader and current political prisoner Marshall “Eddie” Conway, we were reminded of the immediacy of the threat ideas can represent […]

Pelican Bay Hunger Strike: Four Yearz and Still Fighting

by Claude Marks – Isaac Ontiveros Four years ago prisoners in California – led by those in the control units of Pelican Bay – organized a hunger strike to demand an end to the torturous conditions of solitary confinement. Two more strikes would follow, with over 30,000 prisoners taking united action in the summer of […]

Human Rightz Pen Palz Seekz 59 Community Pen Palz in Next 59 dayz (by Sept 5, 2015)

Celebrate The Courage of Hunger Strikers of July 8, 2013: Help Human Rights Pen Pals Connect with 59 Pen Pals in 59 Days Inspired by the call to action by Dolores Canales of California Families Against Solitary Confinement  For more information: humanrightspenpals@gmail.com The most recent hunger strike for the Five Demands lasted from July 8, […]

Policing, Mass Imprisonment, and the Failure of Amerikan Lawyerz

Harvard Law Review Forum Commentary by Alec Karakatsanis 128 Harv. L. Rev. F. 253 It did not surprise me that almost every child in the D.C. public high school class raised a hand when I asked if any of them had been stopped and searched by the police. When I told them that being stopped […]

Solitary confinement izn’t punishment. It’z torture

It costs more, it hurts prisoners’ mental health, and it disproportionately affects minority populations (Photo: A3 delegation at State Capitol, April 17, 2012.) by Jasmine Heiss Albert Woodfox sits alone in a cell smaller than the average parking space. Unless it is one of the three days that he gets to stretch his legs in the […]