Viewpoints: Indefinite solitary confinement violates human rights

 

Juveniles Solitary Confinement
Juveniles Solitary Confinement

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Guards look in on teen prisoners in solitary confinement and mark logs.

By Angela Y. Davis
Special to The Bee
Published: Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 9A

California prisoners are now in their 33rd day of a hunger strike; what they are risking their health and possibly their lives for is basic: an end to indefinite solitary confinement, a practice that most countries recognize as a violation of basichuman rights.

Yet both Gov. Jerry Brown and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Jeffrey Beard are intransigent in their refusal to engage in honest negotiations with the prisoners.

(Photo: In this Thursday, May 31, 2007 file photo, Juvenile Corrections Officers Robert Zinn, left, and Nathan Castle, right, look in on prisoners in their solitary confinement cells and fill out a log of check times at the Marion Juvenile Corrections Institute.,Huffington Post / AP,)

Theirs is a system deep in crisis, mired in decades of lawsuits challenging numerous violations of the legal rights of prisoners that have yielded relatively little in terms of fundamental change. Headlines from the last month alone reveal the inability of current leadership to respect the most basic rights of California prisoners:

On Aug. 2, in spite of assertions by Brown that prison conditions have improved, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to delay a court order for California to release nearly 10,000 prisoners by year’s end to improve conditions in state prisons.

 

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