January 22, 2019

In early December of 2018, a group of SWASC and CAIC members from New York —Mary Buser, Victor Pate, Moya Atkinson and Ali Winters — journeyed to Colorado to observe the publicized reforms to solitary confinement that the state has implemented over the past few years....

August 17, 2018

   In the ongoing push to get the HALT Bill (Humane Alternatives to Long Term Solitary Confinement) passed in New York State, I recently joined busloads of advocates at the State Capitol in Albany to meet with legislators to urge this bill’s passage. Having overseen m...

August 17, 2018

No! In the first place, although we’re always told that isolation cells inside correctional facilities are for the most violent people, this isn’t quite true, as I discovered while working in the 500-cell Rikers Island Segregation Unit. Behind those cell doors, I was s...

June 25, 2017

Many of us read the story this past week about the six prisoners on a Georgia work detail who came to the aid of the stricken guard who was supervising them. When the lone guard fell to the ground, the men could have grabbed his gun, shot him, or just left him there to...

February 28, 2017

This excerpt from “Lockdown on Rikers,” recalls an incident that occurred during my first week as an Assistant Mental Health Chief in the Rikers Island 500-cell Punitive Segregation Unit.


        On my second day at the Otis Bantum Correctional Ce...

February 11, 2017


I first met “Kelly Thomas” while I was an intern in the Mental Health Department on Rikers Island. With the IQ of a small child, and a diagnosis of schizophrenia, the twenty-seven-year old Kelly Thomas had been transferred to the Mental Observatio...

February 2, 2017

        When I worked in the Rikers Island Mental Health Department in the late 90’s, I was frequently called to the “Receiving Room” to assess newly arrested inmates who appeared to have psychiatric issues—the disheveled, the ones who were muttering to...

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A Day in the Life of a Mental Health Team in a Solitary Confinement Unit

February 28, 2017

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