The Woodfox Resolution Against Solitary Confinement

Resolution of the Board of Directors against torture and solitary confinement

WHEREAS, NACDL aims to create a society where all individuals receive fair, rational, and humane treatment within the criminal legal system in the United States;

WHEREAS, Solitary confinement results in long term physical and mental health effects and often irreversible damage, is contrary to rehabilitation, and serves no legitimate penological or societal purpose;

WHEREAS, The United Nations, Amnesty International, the World Health Organization, and leading humanitarian groups throughout the world recognize that solitary confinement{1} 1  Solitary confinement is defined based on the United Nations Standard Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (“The Nelson Mandela Rules”) to mean prolonged isolated confinement characterized by sensory deprivation and/or little human contact in relatively small spaces for more than 22 hours per day. for more than 15 consecutive days is torture;

WHEREAS, The United Nations has called for the prohibition of indefinite, or prolonged solitary confinement beyond 15 consecutive days, for all incarcerated people, and an absolute ban on its use against vulnerable groups, including children and people with mental illness;

WHEREAS, The United States stands virtually alone in the world in incarcerating thousands of prisoners in long-term or indefinite solitary confinement, such that today the U.S. holds an estimated 122,000 men, women and children in solitary confinement;

WHEREAS, The average time spent in solitary confinement varies widely by jurisdiction, with some states averaging decades, including in California, where the average term is between 10 and 20 years, and in Louisiana, where Albert Woodfox spent nearly 44 years in solitary confinement.

WHEREAS, Solitary confinement is most commonly used in the U.S. for non-violent infractions including swearing, tobacco use, and suicide attempts;

WHEREAS, Solitary confinement is both a vestige and a mechanism of systemic racism in that it is disproportionally used against people of color;

Therefore, BE IT RESOLVED that NACDL calls for an immediate and absolute ban on the use of solitary confinement in any jail, prison, immigration detention, or other penal or quasi-penal facility;

And BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, notwithstanding the call for a ban on the use of solitary confinement, to the extent any person is in isolated custody, NACDL calls for transparency and accountability from every jail, prison, immigration detention or other penal or quasi-penal facility as to the identity of any person held in segregation, solitary confinement, or isolation by any name, the length of time any person is held in such isolation, as well as the frequency with which any type of isolation is used within any such facility.

Explore keywords to find information

Featured Products