Women In Solitary Confinement: Buried Inside the Federal Prison System

Moorbey'z Blog


This past September, in response to continued criticism around its use of solitary confinement, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) began an internal audit of its “restricted housing operations.” As noted earlier by Solitary Watch, no women’s prisons are listed in the Scope of Work provided by the team hired to conduct the Special Housing Unit Review and Assessment. The BOP’s Public Information Office was unable to comment on this apparent omission.


Although they are absent from the audit, each women’s prison has its own Special Housing Unit (SHU) where people are locked into their cell 23 ½ to 24 hours each day. In some cases, women are confined because of behavioral problems or rules violations. But the BOP also has a recent history of isolating people based solely on their political beliefs.


In 1986, the BOP opened a segregated unit specifically for women political prisoners…

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Women in Prison: How It Iz With Us

Moorbey'z Blog

Assata Shakur / Joanne Chesimard
published in The Black Scholar, April 1978

We sit in the bull pen. We are all black. All restless. And we are all  freezing.  When we ask, the matron tells us that the heating system cannot  be adjusted.  All of us, with the exception of a woman, tall and gaunt, who  looks naked  and ravished, have refused the bologna sandwiches. The rest of us sit drinking  bitter, syrupy tea. The tall, fortyish woman, with sloping  shoulders, moves  her head back and forth to the beat of a private tune while  she takes small,  tentative bites out a bologna sandwich. Someone asks her  what she’s in for.  Matter of factly, she says, “They say I killed some nigga.  But how could I have when I’m buried down in South Carolina?” Everybody’s  face gets busy exchanging looks. A short, stout young woman wearing men’s  pants and men’s…

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