“Solitary confinement is controversial. In some cases, the UN calls it torture. Many prison officials say it’s necessary to protect safety.
In Illinois, a legal advocacy group sued the Illinois Department of Corrections on behalf of six inmates. The suit alleges some were put in “extreme isolation” for years in what they describe as brutal conditions. The suit argues that this kind of treatment is unconstitutional. Earlier this month, the case took one step closer to becoming a class action.
We were joined on the show Brian Nelson. He was incarcerated, and spent years in solitary confinement. He now works with the Uptown People’s Law Center in Chicago. We also talked with Alan Mills, executive director of the Uptown People’s Law Center.”
Our purpose in attending this hearing was to oppose changes to the IDOC rules that could make retaliation against jailhouse lawyers easier, and to continue to oppose the IDOC & State of Illinois’ use of torture in the form of solitary confinement.
Brian spoke at the hearing, video below.
Solitary confinement in excess of 15 days is torture under international law. Brian spent 23 years in solitary. I spent about seven and a half years out of the 11 years I was locked up in solitary and various forms of segregation, including being placed into administrative detention solitary confinement in the county jail before I had even been convicted. I went to trial at 17 years old from solitary confinement in an adult county jail. In prison, as conditions became more repressive, I became more politically conscious. After getting in a fight with some C/O’s in Stateville I was given indeterminate segregation and spent over 6 years straight in solitary confinement in Pontiac.
Even though the IDOC hearing dealt mainly with rewrites to the IDOC “disciplinary” and grievance rules and procedures, the IDOC went out of their way to claim they are “so concerned” (to look like they are doing something about) solitary confinement.
One simple step they must take: stop torturing people in solitary confinement. Period.
Above: Africa of Black & Pink and the Stop Solitary Coalition speaks at IDOC Hearing.
Author: Gregory Koger of Torture Survivors Against Solitary
The Stop Solitary Coalition is a coalition of individuals and organizations seeking to abolish the use of solitary confinement in Illinois. We call on all to join us in this struggle. More details coming soon.
We will be supporting the September 9th National Prison Strike with a march from the Thompson Center to the MCC in Chicago starting at 1pm on September 9th. FaceBook event