Pelican Bay “Special Housing Unit” Solitary confinement remains one of the most archaic punishments in the prison arsenal. Given the advances in our understanding of mental illness and penal rehabilitation over the last thirty years, it’s shocking that it has taken as long as it has for California penitentiaries to come to the conclusion that
By Jason Neff
I’m struggling this morning to not fly off the handle. As usual I’m beyond frustrated dealing with the incompetence, and ridiculous bullshit that is the norm in the Bureau of Prisons.
Counselor Bob De la Torre arrives at my cell pushing a cart with a box. He mentions my lawyer was waiting out front to pick up boxes of my legal work.
About a week after returning from the hole, I was given some of my property, but Lt. Montgomery would not permit me to have 2 boxes of discovery, claiming they were books, and I had too many already. When in reality the bag he thought was my property that contained several books belonged to another inmate who had returned from the hole over a month ago. It was his property which was never returned to him. Upon going through the voluminous disarray of my new property contained in trash bags, I realized it wasn’t all mine, and based upon the book selections another inmate helped me locate the correct owner, who was quite happy. Of course with property lists and procedure for securing property, one has to question how this is so commonplace. The guy mentioned when he returned from the hole, they had even given him someone else’s stuff and failed to return his property. The property given to him by SHU (Special Housing Unit, which is what they refer to as the hole, solitary, segregation in the feds) Property Officer B. Jones was random mail, and family photos of an inmate who had just left to prison that had been in the hole.
Anyhow, I went into my cell with this empty box provided from the counselor standing at my cell door, quickly stacked legal papers inside, added a photo album, stacks of pictures that were somehow mostly damaged through my transfer to the hole by staff, and a few stacks of envelopes and letters I’ve received over the last few years.
By Jean Trounstine This past February 25th, a panel of experts on solitary confinement converged at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to discuss the horrendous practice in our U.S. prisons that many call “cruel and unusual punishment.” While the panel detailed the disastrous effects such isolation causes, the legal challenges through the years and the