Thanks to AFSC for making these recordings available for additional audiences:
“Solitary Confinement & Mental Health”
The Midwest Coalition for Human Rights, Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture hosted Dr. Terry Kupers at a national strategic convening on solitary confinement and human rights.
Dr. Kupers is institute professor at The Wright Institute and distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Kupers provides expert testimony in class action litigation about the psychological effects of prison conditions, including isolated confinement in super-maximum security units, the quality of correctional mental health care, and the effects of sexual abuse in correctional settings. At this event, he discusses the psychological damage of long-term isolation and explains how the practice constitutes a human rights abuse.
“Solitary Confinement & Human Rights: An Evening of American Stories”
Listen in as activists consider the U.S.’s use of solitary confinement. Through art and story, we look at three regionally diverse cases. Keynote speakers for this event are Robert King, activist and author, and Tessa Murphy from Amnesty International. The stories reflect on the Angola 3, California Secure Housing Units, and Tamms supermax prison.
Forty years ago, three men—the “Angola 3″—were convicted of murder and condemned to solitary confinement in Louisiana’s Angola prison. Two have remained in isolation ever since. The third, Robert King, was released after 29 years and is committed to sharing his story with the world.
Hundreds of prisoners have been confined in California’s high-security segregation units for 10 or more years in conditions of severe isolation. The issue caught the public eye when, in 2011, inmates launched a hunger strike. Tessa Murphy will share Amnesty International’s recent research on conditions in CA security housing units.
Two hundred inmates in Illinois Tamms Closed Maximum Security Unit (CMAX) languish in prolonged solitary confinement. Governor Quinn blocked funding to the facility in July, 2012, but it remains open today. The story of Tamms will be told through the “Tamms Year Ten Campaign Office” exhibit at Sullivan Galleries.