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President Obama declared that “we have banned torture without exception.” However, some would take exception to this claim. The practice of isolating a person in solitary confinement for extended periods of time causes severe sensory deprivation and has been denounced as torture by the United Nations. But tens of thousands are locked up in solitary confinement in American prisons.
Producer Claire Schoen met nine formerly incarcerated people, who described what it’s like not to talk to or touch another person, for years at a time. Listen as they explain the conditions driving 30,000+ people to hunger strike right now in California’s prisons.
Hakeem Shaheed, Laura Whitehorn, Robert Dellalo, Bilal Sunni Ali, Munirah El Bumani, Ray Luc Levasseur, Tommy Escarciga, Diano King ArchAngel Rodriguez, and Robert King Wilkerson, solitary confinement survivors; Teresa Vaughn, mother of son who died in solitary confinement.
For more information:
All of Us or None
American Friends Service Committee (National Office)
Critical Resistance – National Office
Human Rights Watch
Justice Policy Institute
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
The Sentencing Project
Freedom Archives: Out of Control
What is a control unit? Solitary confinement from Alcatraz to Marion to Pelican Bay. From interview with author and activist Nancy Kurshan, 8 minutes
Prison support work is anti-racist work. From interview with author and activist Nancy Kurshan, 4 minutes