This project brings a spark of light into the darkness of solitary confinement, reminding isolated prisoners that they are not forgotten.
Update 1/9/12: To help us reach our goal in the remaining six days, a generous supporter (who prefers to remain anyonymous) has offered to match all donations up to $500. Please give today, and your donation will be doubled! Thank you.
Solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails is one of the nation's most pressing domestic human rights issues—and also one of the most invisible.
Solitary Watch (a project of the Community Futures Collective) is bringing the widespread use of solitary confinement out of the shadows and into the light of the public square. Our mission is to provide the public—as well as attorneys, policymakers, educators, advocates, corrections officers, people in prison and their families—with the first centralized source of unfolding news, original reporting, firsthand accounts, and background research on solitary confinement in the United States.
While our larger aim is to challenge the torture of solitary confinement and build a more humane future, we are always aware of the more than 80,000 prisoners currently suffering in solitary on any given day in the United States. Our "Lifelines to Solitary" project enables us to maintain direct contact more than 500 men, women, and children in solitary confinement, sending personalized holiday cards and letters as well as Solitary Watch newsletters throughout the year.
For people in conditions of isolation and sensory deprivation--conditions known to cause anguish, madness, and even suicide--these communications can be a crucial lifeline, a connection to the outside world, and a reminder that they are not forgotten.
Some responses to our first round of holiday cards:
"I can’t tell you how touched I am for you giving me any attention. I am so grateful to you and cried tears reading your card because the torture, abuse and neglect I’m facing makes this cell and my world a lonely place, and many days I think of how to take my own life and end the misery and pain but you inspire me and I continue to fight on.’’ --Texas
"I thank you a lot for the holiday card. I wish I had a card to send you, but I don’t. We cannot buy no holiday card off the store but if they give us some holiday cards this year you got my word you will receive one of them. I am sending you my love and support. I will always be on your side. And I am blessed to have a friend like you." -- Georgia