Newsflash:
Wayne Powell End Mass Criminalization Confronting California's Abuse of Solitary
Thursday, 21 November 2013 23:24

Confronting California's Abuse of Solitary

Written by  Helen Vera | ACLU

In 1995, a federal court in California agreed. After a trial exposing the appalling conditions at Pelican Bay—the state's most notorious, all-isolation, supermax prison and the site of repeated hunger strikes—a federal judge ordered all mentally ill prisoners out of the prison's security housing unit (SHU) in a case called Madrid v. Gomez.

Solitary confinement can eat away at someone's mind, making mental illness worse and leaving many people depressed, suicidal, hopeless or hallucinating. It's no place for individuals with mental illness.

But, because of the sometimes frustratingly limited nature of legal decisions, this judge's order only impacted Pelican Bay. While Pelican Bay has for years been notorious for its conditions of extreme isolation—leading thousands of prisoners across California to participate in the largest prisoner hunger strike in history, some for as long as two months—it is the only California prison in which prisoners with mental illness may not be held in solitary confinement as a matter of law. This means that seriously mentally ill prisoners all over California continue to be held in long-term solitary confinement, even though the Madrid order prohibits those conditions for the mentally ill at Pelican Bay.

It's time to change that. Today in Sacramento, key witnesses, including experts in psychology and corrections practices, will take the stand in support of the first statewide case aimed at getting all mentally ill people in California out of solitary confinement. The case is called Coleman v. Brown, and beginning today these experts will help to expose the extreme and sometimes irreversible damage of holding people with mental illness in solitary confinement.

The Coleman plaintiffs have marshaled stunning evidence to support their claims that all California prisons must remove mentally ill prisoners from solitary confinement. Statewide, according to case filings, about 9 percent of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) approximately 123,600 total prisoners are held in some form of segregated housing—but that number includes 21 percent of mentally ill prisoners system-wide. This means that mentally ill prisoners in California are held in disproportionately high numbers in solitary confinement. Even more alarming is evidence uncovered by the Coleman plaintiffs showing the dramatically heightened suicide rate among prisoners in segregated housing: in 2011, more than one third of all suicides in CDCR facilities took place in segregation units; more than half of the individuals who committed suicide in the first half of 2012 were housed in segregation; and 58 percent of the 19 people who have taken their life to date in 2013 occurred in segregation units.

These disproportionately high instances of suicide are unfortunately not surprising to those familiar with the harms of solitary confinement. Psychological studies consistently show that solitary confinement can wreak distinctive harms on prisoners, including heightened symptoms of hopelessness, depression, hallucinations, self-mutilation, suicidal ideation, and suicidal acts. And a 2008 study of California prisons noted a striking correlation between segregated housing and prison incident reports of self-mutilation and suicide.

Although the harms of solitary confinement for mentally ill prisoners are well known, many states, including California, have been slow to catch up to the growing trend against prolonged solitary. Across the country, corrections departments, judges, activists, prisoners and their families alike will be watching to see if the Eastern District of California holds that the CDRC must forbid the housing of mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement. If the court holds that it must, then California—and the rest of the country—will be forced to rethink its statewide policies governing the use of solitary confinement.

Link to original article from the ACLU Blog

Read 4580 times

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

Latest News from the Powell Campaign

  • Virginia's Wayne Powell Is An Environmental Profile In Courage
    Virginia's Wayne Powell Is An Environmental Profile In Courage

    Virginia is now being mentioned as a crucial swing state. This Congressional race is certainly one to watch. Perhaps that was why I was so impressed to hear candidate Wayne Powell, (who is challenging incumbent Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for the seat he has held in the 7th District of Virginia since 2001) speak boldly and openly about the environment showdown with Cantor.

    Written on Sunday, 04 November 2012 00:17 Read more...
  • O’ Brother — Dr. Ralph Stanley to stump for Powell
    O’ Brother — Dr. Ralph Stanley to stump for Powell

    Running against incumbent Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia’s GOP-heavy 7th District is enough to give any Democrat the blues. So Bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley will headline a two-day campaign swing for Powell next week.

    Written on Saturday, 20 October 2012 14:52 Read more...
  • Can This Guy Defeat Eric Cantor?
    Can This Guy Defeat Eric Cantor?

    Dream on. But Democratic long shot Wayne Powell might put a few dents in the House majority leader's armor. That Powell and Zerban were in LA raising money for what seemed like increasingly less quixotic quests—Powell is the first challenger Cantor has agreed to debate in 10 years, and Zerban's internal polling in September put him within single digits of Ryan—could underscore America's waning infatuation with tea-party-style politics.

    Written on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 10:04 Read more...
  • VIDEO: Powell/Cantor Debate Post Mortem
    VIDEO: Powell/Cantor Debate Post Mortem

    Perhaps you should give it a look, post-mortem.  After all, this is the first debate Eric Cantor has agreed to in TEN YEARS.

    Written on Friday, 12 October 2012 00:17 Read more...
  • Cantor camp turns down invitation to free public forum
    Cantor camp turns down invitation to free public forum

    A top aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the Republican will not accept a challenge from Chesterfield County’s Democratic Party to meet its own candidate, Wayne Powell, in a free public forum before the Nov. 6 elections.

    Written on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 20:17 Read more...
  • Eric Cantor is not particularly popular in his Republican-leaning district.
    Eric Cantor is not particularly popular in his Republican-leaning district.

    Eric Cantor is not particularly popular in his Republican-leaning district. His personal popularity is 37% favorable, 31% unfavorable. Strongly unfavorable views outnumber strongly favorable ones, 25%- 21%. Cantor’s “re-elect” number is weak: 41% want to re-elect Cantor, while 43% want to replace him.

    Written on Saturday, 22 September 2012 17:13 Read more...
  • Powell TV ad targets Cantor supporters
    Powell TV ad targets Cantor supporters

    Democratic 7th District congressional candidate Wayne Powell is taking his campaign to unseat longterm incumbent Republican Eric Cantor right into the living rooms of central Virginia Republicans. The ad will run district-wide approximately once an hour on Fox News for the entire Convention. The ad buy is indicative of Powell’s strategy of reaching out to all voters regardless of their political affiliation.

    Written on Monday, 27 August 2012 17:44 Read more...
  • Powell slams Cantor at open town hall meeting
    Powell slams Cantor at open town hall meeting

    A Richmond native and attorney like his opponent, Powell is otherwise very different from 49-year-old Cantor, Majority Leader in the U.S. House since 2011, and Culpeper County’s congressional representative since 2000.

    Cantor’s name came up a lot during Thursday’s “Open Town Hall Meeting” hosted by Powell, who was articulate and well received by local constituents in attendance.

    Written on Thursday, 23 August 2012 13:39 Read more...
  • Cantor faces Powell in Sept. 28 debate
    Cantor faces Powell in Sept. 28 debate

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-7th, will debate Democratic challenger Wayne Powell on Friday, Sept. 28.

    Cantor, who declined to debate Democratic challenger Rick Waugh in 2010, has not debated a Democrat in a general election since 2002, when he squared off with former Georgia congressman and "Dukes of Hazzard" star Ben L. "Cooter" Jones.

    Written on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 15:05 Read more...
  • Look Out, Cantor, Mudcat is Helping Wayne Powell!
    Look Out, Cantor, Mudcat is Helping Wayne Powell!

    It takes courage to look at a roomful of Democrats and confess that you were a consultant on John Edwards’ presidential campaign.

    But that is exactly what Dave “Mudcat” Saunders did at the June 6 Chesterfield Democratic Committee meeting.  Saunders just put it right out there while telling members how he thinks Wayne Powell can beat 7th District Congressman Eric Cantor.

    Written on Friday, 08 June 2012 01:03 Read more...
  • Powell Wins Democratic Bid to Face Cantor in VA 7th (Video Interview)
    Powell Wins Democratic Bid to Face Cantor in VA 7th (Video Interview)

    Wayne Powell, Veteran, Small Business Owner and Local Attorney Is the Democratic Nominee to Oppose Eric Cantor. Says Cantor is “epitome of what is wrong in Washington…a career political operator who is the poster child for Washington gridlock and dysfunction”

    Written on Friday, 13 April 2012 19:21 Read more...
  • Cantor challenger Powell speaks in Culpeper
    Cantor challenger Powell speaks in Culpeper

    “We take care of our own.” That was the major theme of Wayne Powell’s speech Friday at the Raven’s Nest in Culpeper.

    Powell is a Democratic candidate for the 7th District, the seat currently held by House Majority Leader Eric I. Cantor.

    Written on Monday, 09 April 2012 15:51 Read more...
  • Democratic lawyer challenges Representative Cantor
    Democratic lawyer challenges Representative Cantor

    For Wayne Powell, Virginia’s 7th Congressional District “isn’t personal, it’s Cantor.”

    Powell, 62, is challenging Republican incumbent Eric Cantor of Henrico County for his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Powell is one of the three candidates running for the spot on the Democratic ballot this fall.

    Written on Thursday, 22 March 2012 10:33 Read more...
  • Democratic hopeful supports Obama
    Democratic hopeful supports Obama

    Wayne Powell wants to be the Democratic Party nominee to challenge House Majority Leader Rep. Eric I. Cantor, R-Henrico, for the 7th District seat in the House of Representatives in November.

    Written on Thursday, 08 March 2012 18:47 Read more...
  • Cantor opponent Wayne Powell to serve as pro bono counsel for some of "Capitol Square 31"

    Earlier this evening I spoke with Wayne Powell, one of three 7th Congressional District Democrats seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to face off against Eric Cantor this November. Powell told me that when he heard what had happened at Virginia's Capitol Square, he hurried downtown to offer his legal services to the protesters that had been arrested.

    Written on Monday, 05 March 2012 02:38 Read more...
  • Wayne Powell reacts to Police Overreaction at Demonstration
    Wayne Powell reacts to Police Overreaction at Demonstration

    E. Wayne Powell, candidate for the Democratic nomination against Eric cantor in the Seventh Congressional District, today released this statement about the incidents at the Capitol.

    Written on Sunday, 04 March 2012 22:51 Read more...
  • Wayne Powell Has an Amazing Week
    Wayne Powell Has an Amazing Week

    E. Wayne Powell, a candidate for the Democratic nomination to take on Eric Cantor in Virginia's 7th Congressional District, has had a really amazing week. It all started last Thursday when Powell received the endorsement of the Progressive Democrats of America's chapter in Virginia's 7th CD.  Powell's education and experience—especially his service in the military—make him exceptionally well equipped to face Cantor. 

    Written on Thursday, 20 October 2011 00:00 Read more...
  • Wayne Powell Receives PDA 7th District Endorsement
    Wayne Powell Receives PDA 7th District Endorsement

    On October 13th members of the PDA 7th District Chapter endorsed candidate E. Wayne Powell.

    Written on Friday, 14 October 2011 00:00 Read more...
  • OWS: The Basis of All That Is Good and Right About Our Country
    OWS: The Basis of All That Is Good and Right About Our Country

    Occasionally I take a long weekend. It’s a chance to take a break from the profession, and the campaign. Last weekend I travelled to New York City. What started as a getaway ended in an exhilarating glimpse of democracy in action.

    Written on Thursday, 06 October 2011 00:00 Read more...
  • "Eric Cantor's War on American Jobs" by E. Wayne Powell
    "Eric Cantor's War on American Jobs" by E. Wayne Powell

    My name is Wayne Powell, and I'm a Democrat running for Congress in Virginia's 7th Congressional District to replace Eric Cantor. Americans need good jobs now.  Let's face it, as a nation we tend to define ourselves by what we do.  I am an attorney and a retired military officer.  When you deny Americans an opportunity to do meaningful work and contribute to their community by providing services, you are attacking a key part of their individual identities.

    Written on Monday, 19 September 2011 00:00 Read more...

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

VA Endorsed Candidate

WaynePowellGreat

VA-07 E. Wayne Powell
http://www.powellforva.com

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of