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What is Solitary Confinement?
Solitary confinement is defined as "the isolation of a prisoner in a separate cell as a punishment" . Typically confined to their cells for 22 to 24 hours a day, and allowed only minimal meaningful interaction with others. In Texas, solitary confinement is known by many names, and each has slightly different meanings. By any name, it is a torturous and excessively used method of control that damages the mental and physical health of human beings who will most likely return to society, as 95% of all incarcerated people do. TDCJ no longer uses the term solitary confinement in an effort to soften this inhumane practice, but the new terms have not come with significant change. The United States Constitution, Amendment 8, prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. Across the US, this violation of human and constitutional rights must end!
Administrative Segregation or Security detention includes people whom TDCJ has deemed dangerous. They may have tried to escape security restraints, or they may be people who have been determined by the system to be gang members. Because of that designation, they are considered a danger to others in spite of potentially clean behavior records.
ALU stands for Administrative Lock Up and is used to confine those that TDCJ has labeled "Trouble Makers" either physically or politically. ALU is cruel and amounts to nothing more than harassment and discrimination. Across TDCJ there are several boards or committees that oversee solitary confinement. However, the ALU is not monitored by any board or committee. It is overseen and managed by the Executive Director of TDCJ.
Death Row is for those who have been sentenced to death.
Protective Custody or Safekeeping is for people such as "police officers, transgender people, and those under threat from a gang, whom TDCJ has determined face harm in the general population."
"A 2018 Texas scandal involving correctional officers who planted contraband on prisoners to create disciplinary violations demonstrates that alleged violations are not always clear cut or sometimes may not have any basis at all (Lisheron, 2018). Given that those subject to solitary confinement have limited ability to challenge this placement, external accountability for correctional decisions is critical, and the conservative impulse to temper government power with accountability is particularly important to check the overuse of prolonged solitary confinement." -Marc Levin
Solitary Confinement practices in Texas must change, and
we need you to make this happen. Click below to send a letter or sign the petition. The letter is editable so make sure to add your feelings about solitary confinement.
Solitary Confinement Bills Progress Tracker
"After hearing expert testimony (from Michele Deitch, LBJ School, UT Austin Law, and director of Prison and Jail Innovation Lab) about Texas prison conditions, in June 2021, an Edinburgh judge, Nigel Ross, raised concerns about persistent understaffing, forced unpaid labor, over-reliance on solitary confinement, inadequate food, sweltering temperatures and a lack of independent oversight."
The eyes of the world are on Texas.
"These small cells have "NO" water, "NO" toilets, "NO" bunks or any type of bedding for offenders, nothing in the cells... I've witnessed and talked to a number of offenders that have had to defecate in their pants, on the food trays, on old newspapers, cell floors etc. And I've witnessed all this. I've seen offenders standing in their own feces and urine and when I asked them, "how long have ya'll been there???" it's always the same response, anywhere from one (1) to six (6) days." Incarcerated Texan (2022)
National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) has been fighting the systemic use of solitary confinement in the United States since 2006. The film below is a call to action for communities of faith to engage in the growing nationwide movement for restorative alternatives to isolated confinement that prioritize rehabilitation, therapeutic interventions, and recovery."
Breaking Down the Box
Presented by NRCAT
To watch the video
"The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has amended its professional code of ethics to prohibit members from designing execution chambers or spaces to be used for torture, including long-term solitary confinement."
"They can't see the nearby mountains or trees, nothing living, not so much as a blade of grass. Some people report that after years of not seeing anything further than ten feet away, their eyesight has deteriorated so much that they can't focus on faraway objects anymore." - Laura Rovner
Remove solitary confinement housing conditions for all Death Row incarcerated individuals
Administrative Segregation or Security detention
Administrative Lock Up (ALU)
Protective Custody or Safekeeping
For Our Lawmakers
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