Congressional Briefing on Solitary Confinement to Take Place This Week

APRIL 4, 2011
by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella
From: SolitaryWatch

For the first time, members of Congress will sponsor a Capitol Hill briefing on the use and abuse of solitary confinement in U.S. prison and jails. Sponsors include John Conyers, Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee, and panelists include several people we’ve written about before on Solitary Watch, including Robert King, Laura Rovner, and David Fathi. What follows is information from the flyer on the briefing.

Congressmen John Conyers (D-MI), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA)

Invite you to attend a briefing and documentary screening on:

The Abuses of Solitary Confinement in the U.S. Criminal Justice System
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 – Room 2226 Rayburn HOB

3:30 PM – Briefing

Each day tens of thousands of prisoners in the U.S. are held in solitary confinement. Usually in isolation for at least 23 hours a day and denied human contact, these inmates are subject to a range of other restrictive conditions. This briefing will examine the detrimental impacts of the abusive use or over-use of solitary confinement, including its disproportionate impact on inmates of color, the appropriateness of its use on mentally ill inmates, and other concerns about its use by correctional facilities.

Welcome by Congressmen John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Robert C. ” Bobby” Scott (D-VA)

. Michael Randle, Program Manager for the Judge Nancy R. McDonnell Community Based Correctional Facility

. Robert King, Only Freed Member of the Angola 3, Released in 2001 after 29 years in Solitary Confinement in Angola Prison in Louisiana

. David Fathi, Director, American Civil Liberties Union, National Prison Project

. Laura L. Rovner, Associate Professor of Law, Civil Rights Clinic, University of Denver College of Law

. Tory Pegram, Campaign Coordinator, International Coalition to Free the Angola 3 (Moderator)

4:30 PM – Documentary Screening

“In the Land of the Free.”- Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, this documentary examines the story of three extraordinary men known as the “Angola 3”-Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King-who together have spent more than a century in solitary confinement in Louisiana. Two of the men are still held in solitary after a record 39 years.

There will be a discussion with Robert King, and Carine Williams, Angola 3 attorney for both civil and criminal cases following screening.

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) will participate in the documentary screening.