The United States imprisons more people than any country on earth, including Russia and China. American jails and prisons are tedious, isolating and sometimes dangerous. Prisons and jails make too frequent use of solitary confinement. They provide virtually nothing in the way of rehabilitation and do much to harm the psyches of the incarcerated. Abuse is rampant. Assault is frequent.
We fight to keep the courthouse door open to prisoners and to hold prison officials accountable for their misdeeds.
Lawsuit filed against the Virginia Department of Corrections on behalf of Mr. Nicolas Reyes who has been in solitary confinement for over 12 years. He remains in solitary solely because he cannot complete the mandatory English-only Step-Down Program, requiring reflective journaling and other lessons before entering general population.
Due to abuse and harassment by Illinois Department of Corrections officials, Ms. Strawberry Hampton filed an amended complaint that includes more recent abuse, harassment and neglect that has occurred and continues to occur while detained at Dixon Correctional Center. Hampton v. Illinois Department of Corrections
Seventh Circuit agrees that prolonged solitary confinement is dangerous for prisoners suffering from mental illness.
For the third time, Ms. Hampton files for emergency relief from the courts. In each instance, IDOC agreed to transfer her and the emergency motions were withdrawn by her counsel. After each transfer, Ms. Hampton’s circumstances improved for a few days or weeks, but then deteriorated in violation of her constitutional rights.
Hampton v. Illinois Department of Corrections
Strawberry Hampton is a 27-year old transgender woman currently incarcerated within the Illinois Department of Corrections. Ms. Hampton has spent her entire sentence in men’s prisons, where she has survived numerous sexual assaults and received constant harassment and threats. IDOC officials have consistently refused to acknowledge Ms. Hampton’s gender identity and have repeatedly and deliberately placed her in environments detrimental to her physical, mental and emotional health.
Reyes v. Clarke
The MacArthur Justice Center partnered with ACLU of Virginia filed a lawsuit alleging violations of Mr. Reyes, who has been kept in extreme solitary confinement for over 12 years. He remains in solitary solely because he cannot speak or read English and therefore cannot complete the Step-Down Program, requiring reflective journaling and other lessons, mandated the Virginia Department of Corrections.
Johnson v. United States (U.S. Supreme Court)
In this case, the en banc Seventh held, over the dissent of three judges, that a mere parking infraction justifies a pretextual search. The dissenting judges warned that the decision gives police the power to seize people for “parking while black” and that “the police tactics here would never be tolerated in more affluent neighborhoods.” The MacArthur Justice Center is challenging the decision in the United States Supreme Court.