«International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Prolonged Solitary Confinement University of Pittsburgh School of Law April 15-16, 2016 3900 ...»
International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on
Prolonged Solitary Confinement
University of Pittsburgh School of Law
April 15-16, 2016
3900 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Schedule of Speakers
Friday, April 15, 2016
8 a.m. Breakfast
9 a.m. Welcome
Professor Jules Lobel
Peter Scharff Smith, Danish Institute for Human Rights
9:15 a.m. Current Trends With Respect to Solitary Confinement
Rick Raemisch – Director, Colorado Department of Corrections – The Reform Movement
in Colorado Professor Judith Resnik, Yale Law School – Not Isolating Isolation – Solitary Confinement in a Broader Perspective Manfred Nowak – Professor of Law, University of Vienna, Former UN Rapporteur on Torture – Global Perspectives on Solitary Confinement – Practices and Reforms Worldwide Moderated by Professor Matiangai Sirleaf – University of Pittsburgh School of Law 10:45 a.m. Break Mind, Body and Soul – The Harms Wrought by Prolonged Isolation 11 a.m. Lessons From Neuroscience Professor Michael Zigmond – University of Pittsburgh Medical School Professor Huda Akil – University of Michigan Medical School – Past President Society for Neuroscience Professor Richard J Smeyne – Developmental Neurobiology, St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital Moderated by Professor Michael Zigmond – University of Pittsburgh Medical School 2 12:15 p.m. Lunch Break 1:15 p.m. Isolation and the Body Professor Brie Williams – UCSF Medical School – First Do No Harm: The Physical Health Effects of Solitary Confinement Louise Hawkley – University of Chicago, Social Science Researcher – Social Isolation, Loneliness and Health – Hypertension Rates at Pelican Bay SHU and the Social Science Research on the Health Effects of Isolation in the Adult Population Homer Venters – Professor NYU Medical School – Self Injurious Behavior of Inmates in Isolation Moderated by Professor Jasmine Gonzales Rose – University of Pittsburgh School of Law 2:45 p.m. Isolation and Mental Health Professor Craig Haney, UC Santa Cruz – Prolonged Isolation, Social Death and Mental Harm Professor Jules Lobel – The Legal Implications of Professor Haney’s Findings – comments on Professor Haney’s remarks Moderated by Professor David A. Harris – University of Pittsburgh School of Law 3:45 p.m. Break 4-5:30 p.m. Experiencing the Harm and Suffering – The Prisoner’s Perspective 5 Minute Film of Pelican Bay prisoners describing their experience Albert Woodfox – recently freed prisoner held in solitary in Louisiana for over 40 years Robert King – Life in the Hole, One of Angola 3 Held in Solitary Almost 20 Years Danny Murillo – Former California Prisoner Who Spent 7 Years in Solitary Confinement, and is currently the John W. Gardner Fellow for Public Service at Vera Institute of Justice and NJ – STEP Consortium at Rutgers University Shandre Delaney – Pennsylvania Activist Whose Son is in Solitary Confinement Dolores Canales – Executive Director, California Families Against Solitary Confinement, Soros Fellow, Son Spent Many Years at Pelican Bay SHU
Saturday, April 16, 2016 8 a.m. Breakfast 8:30 a.m. Historical Development of Solitary Confinement Peter Scharff Smith – Danish Institute of Human Rights Professor Keramet Reiter – UC Irvine, Criminology, Law and Society 9:15 a.m. Learning From Abroad – Norway and North Dakota Don Specter – Moderator – Short Intro – What US Officials Can Learn From Europe Are Hoidal – Governor of Maximum Security Halden Prison in Norway – Prisoner Association as an Alternative to Solitary Confinement – Lessons Learned From a Norwegian High Security Prison Leann Bertsch – Director North Dakota Department of Corrections – President American Society of Corrections Administrators ASCA –Visiting Norway and Implementing the Lessons in North Dakota 10:45 a.m. Break 11 a.m. Treating Prisoners With Dignity and Without Extreme Isolation – The British and European Experience Professor Andrew Coyle – Emeritus Professor of Prison Studies, University of London, Director, International Center for Prison Studies, Former Senior Administrator In UK Prison Service Governor Jamie Bennett – Grendon Prison, UK Sharon Shalev – Research Fellow, Oxford University Moderated by Peter Scharff Smith – Danish Institute of Human Rights 12:30 p.m. International Law and Prolonged Solitary Confinement Juan Mendez – UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor American University Law School, Former Prisoner 1 p.m. Lunch Break 1:45 p.m. Reform Efforts in the United States Bernie Warner – Former Director Washington Department of Corrections
Todd Ishee – Northeast Regional Director – Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Marlysha Myrthil – Attorney, US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division Comments by Rick Raemisch and Leann Bertsch Moderated by Professor Jules Lobel – University of Pittsburgh School of Law 3:45 p.m. Break 4:00-5:30 p.m. Litigating and Challenging Solitary Confinement in Different Countries David Fathi – Director ACLU National Prison Project Alexis Agathocleous – Center for Constitutional Rights Joseph Arvay – Leading Canadian Litigator Challenging Prolonged Solitary Confinement José de Jesus Filho – Brazilian Lawyer and Human Rights Activist
Solitary confinement – effects, reform, and alternatives The issue of when, if ever, prison officials should use solitary confinement for various purposes has become a major focus of national and international attention in the past few years. In the United States there is growing criticism of the practice of locking up an estimated 80-100,000 prisoners in small cells for more than 22 hours per day with little or no social contact, no physical contact visits with family or friends, and little or no group recreation or programming.
While the U.S. undoubtedly holds more prisoners in solitary than any other country, it is nevertheless a fact that various forms of solitary confinement are routinely used in other prison systems. This conference is both international and interdisciplinary and thus affords an opportunity for interchange between prison officials, experts, lawyers, academics, activists, ex-prisoners from different countries, disciplines, and experiences to share their perspectives on the harms caused by, attempts to reform, and alternatives to prolonged solitary confinement.
Solitary confinement is used for a panoply of reasons: as disciplinary punishment, as an allegedly preventive mechanism to control prisoners perceived by officials as disruptive, violent or problematic, as a so-called voluntary regime for vulnerable prisoners; during pre-trial to avoid collusion; and even as a practical measure where other facilities are unavailable or overcrowded. It is a serious challenge to overcome traditions and culture within prison administration and begin to run prisons without the option of creating a prison within the prison, i.e. solitary confinement.
The United States has witnessed the growth of a movement to reform and end solitary confinement.
That movement has been spurred by disparate influences: Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer recognizing a “new and growing awareness” about the harms associated with prolonged solitary confinement, the organization of Prison Directors in the United States calling to “limit or end extended isolation,” thousands of prisoners in California going on hunger strike opposing its use, legal and civic organizations launching campaigns and litigation challenging solitary confinement, Federal and state legislators holding hearings on the issue, and the President of the United States speaking out for reform. Internationally, the UN Rapporteur on Torture has declared that the use of prolonged solitary confinement constitutes torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment.
This conference will address four key questions that arise from the movement to reform or end solitary confinement.
1. How does solitary confinement harm human beings?
We know from extensive research that solitary confinement can seriously harm the health of prisoners. During this conference, we attempt to deepen our understandings of the effects of solitary confinement by presentations from and dialogue between diverse disciplinary and experiential viewpoints, including neuroscience, neurobiology, psychology, psychiatry, history, and social science 6 and the actual experience of prisoners who have suffered from solitary confinement. Sometimes the major harm is perceived as driving people mad or to commit suicide. But how does solitary harm individuals even where they can avoid mental illness or suicide? Does the deprivation of social contact deprive an individual of a basic human need? What does this tell us about the broader effects and practical results of using prolonged solitary confinement in prisons systems?
2. What are the best and most effective ways of reducing the use of solitary confinement in prison systems?
The population of prisoners placed in solitary could be dramatically reduced if prison officials did not resort routinely to solitary confinement to lock up people who, for different reasons, are perceived by prison administrators to pose problems. A number of states in the U.S., the U.S.
government, and prison officials in other nations have committed to significantly reducing the number of prisoners held in segregated housing by excluding the mentally ill, pregnant woman, and juveniles; and by developing step-down programs and limiting the criteria for placement and duration in isolation.
How have these systems been able to reduce the population of prisoners held in solitary? Are even more dramatic reductions possible, and if so how? To what extent should placement or continuation in solitary be based on a determination of how the individual is reacting to solitary confinement;
namely, are they decompressing or becoming mentally ill or do they seem mentally stable? What is the relationship or effectiveness of reform driven by litigation, legislation or voluntary action by prison administrators? Does limiting or ending solitary confinement require a change in the culture and attitude that we have toward prisoners more generally?
3. Should prolonged solitary confinement be abolished in all cases and in all forms?
Reducing routine use of prolonged solitary confinement still leaves us with an important question:
can prolonged solitary confinement be used to house any prisoner, even those who are repeat or pathological killers? Does such confinement constitute cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment generally which must be prohibited in the same way as other inhumane forms of punishment have been banned by the international community?
While clearly not all prisoners will suffer the same effects and harm from solitary, are there any general principles or risks of harm that would lead one to conclude that the practice ought to be seen as cruel, irrespective of whether a particular prisoner is suffering specific, present, or identifiable harm?
they work and what exactly do they achieve? Can prison systems separate prisoners who have shown themselves to be violent from the general population without isolating them and depriving them of human contact? What have been the efforts in some U.S. states and countries around the world to do so? What lessons can we learn from European countries on alternative methods of dealing with prisoners generally and, more specifically, prisoners who cause problems?
Friday April 15, Day One The first day of the conference will focus on the effects of solitary confinement on prisoners. It will attempt to deepen our understanding of the harms wrought by isolation and address the question of whether, even for those prisoners who are not driven mad, mentally ill or to attempt suicide due to placement in solitary, are there any general harms or risks of harm that would lead one to conclude that the practice ought to be seen as cruel, irrespective of the effect on a particular prisoner.
Welcomed Speakers Alexis Agathocleous Alexis Agathocleous is a Deputy Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where he has worked on issues of mass incarceration, criminal justice, LGBTQ discrimination, gender justice, profiling of Muslims, and the criminalization of dissent. He is counsel for plaintiffs in Aref, et al. v.
Holder, et. al., challenging policies and conditions at the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Communications Management Units, and in Ashker v. Brown, a class action lawsuit challenging long-term solitary confinement at California’s Pelican Bay prison.
He was lead counsel in Doe v. Jindal and Doe v. Caldwell, successful challenges to a Louisiana law that required individuals convicted of a “Crime Against Nature” to register as sex offenders. Before joining CCR’s staff, Alexis was a senior staff attorney at the Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) and director of OAD’s Reinvestigation Project. He was a Karpatkin Fellow with the Racial Justice Program at the American Civil Liberties Union. Alexis graduated from Yale Law School, where he was a Coker Fellow and interned at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Dr. Huda Akil
Dr. Huda Akil, PhD is the Gardner Quarton Distinguished University Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry and the co-Director of the Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute (MBNI) at the University of Michigan. Dr. Akil together with Dr. Stanley J. Watson and their colleagues have made seminal contributions to the understanding of the brain biology of emotions, including pain, anxiety, depression and substance abuse. She and her collaborators provided the first physiological evidence for a role of endorphins in the brain, and showed that endorphins are activated by stress and cause pain inhibition.