October 29, 2015
5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
151 Thayer Street
In Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU), as in most solitary confinement units in prisons around the country, inmates are isolated in tiny cells for over 22 hours a day. Pelican Bay became notorious in 2011 when 30,000 prisoners across the state went on hunger strike to protest how the SHU was being used—over 500 prisoners had remained in isolation for more than 10 years, with no mechanism for having their status reviewed. This September, indefinite solitary confinement was ended in California as the result of a landmark settlement in California Supreme Court.
Join the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights and Brown’s ACLU chapter for a conversation with Jules Lobel, Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and lead attorney in the class action lawsuit that challenged prolonged solitary confinement in California. Professor Lobel will discuss the constitutional argument against solitary confinement, and how he, his colleagues, and inmates at Pelican Bay were able to win restrictions on the use of solitary confinement in all California State Prisons.
On November 3, at 4pm, join the Brown Political Theory Project for “Capitalism, Progressivism, and Mass Incarceration” Bernard Harcourt (Columbia Law School) and Naomi Murakawa (Princeton) present rival narratives about mass incarceration in America. In The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order , Harcourt shows the interdependence of contract enforcements in global markets and punitive authority. InThe First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America, by contrast, Murakawa traces prison growth to liberal campaigns and progressive legislation. Together, Murakawa and Harcourt offer fresh ideas about into the political, economic and ethical dimensions of mass incarceration. The event will take place on campus in List Art Building, Room 120.
The push for harsher sentences and mandatory minimums that categorized criminal justice reform in the 1980s and 90s has had consequences that reverberate in many communities across the United States. But one consequence, invisible to many of us outside the prison walls, has been the steady growth of an aging prison population. In fact, incarcerated men and women age 50 and older are the fastest growing prison population in the United States. As contact from loved ones on the outside dwindles and they face chronic health conditions associated with aging, older prisoners require additional and specialized supportive outlets and medical care that many correctional facilities are not equipped to provide.
Join the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights for a discussion of growing old inside. Our panelists will discuss the practical challenges of incarcerating older adults, as well as innovative approaches to responding to the special needs of elderly prisoners. We’ll also hear from the voices of older prisoners through video interview and through the stories they have told our panelists.
Dr. Lisa Barry, Asst. Professor of Psychiatry, UConn Health/Center on Aging
Aileen Hongo, Geriatric Social Worker, California Prison System
Ron Levine, Author & Photographer, Prisoners of Age
Dr. Fred Vohr, Medical Director, RI Dept. of Corrections
Organized by: The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights