Reyes v. Clarke

Solitary Confinement

Mr. Reyes is a prisoner in Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison who has been held in solitary confinement in a small, concrete cell for between 22 and 24 hours a day, every day, for approximately 12 and a half consecutive years. He is routinely deprived of basic needs, including showers, recreation, and even meals. On the few occasions when he has been allowed to leave his cell, he must submit to humiliating cavity searches. He has lost nearly 50 pounds while in solitary confinement, and his mental health has deteriorated greatly — the predictable outcome of being isolated for approximately 300 times the outer limits of international human rights law with hardly any meaningful access to mental healthcare.

Mr. Reyes has remained in solitary confinement solely because he cannot complete the prison’s mandatory Step-Down Program, which requires prisoners to complete self-reflective journals and other lessons before they can enter general population. Mr. Reyes cannot read or speak English and that is the only language in which the materials are provided. Additionally, Mr. Reyes has virtually no communication with other people, lacks access to mental health services.

The MacArthur Justice Center partnered with ACLU of Virginia filed a lawsuit alleging violations of Mr. Reyes’ constitutional rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment, as well as federal anti-discrimination law. The case is pending in the Eastern District of Virginia.


Filed - September 4, 2018

Key Documents