INSIDE THE BOX:
What is it like to be isolated and segregated in a small prison cell 23/7 for days, weeks, years, and in some cases even decades?
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is clear. It is not just like torture; it is torture. According to Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, holding a person in solitary confinement for a period of time longer than 15 days is torture. On any given day, however, around 80,000 people in the United States are being held in solitary confinement.
To help people understand that prolonged isolation is a form of torture, NRCAT has created a replica solitary confinement cell. The NRCAT’s replica solitary confinement cell is now coming to New Haven, Connecticut where, for three weeks, it will be on display, giving people an opportunity to experience for themselves the inside of a solitary cell.
Initiated by three New Haven United Church of Christ congregations (United, Redeemer, and Shalom), this project has engaged a powerful coalition of community, religious, and university organizations. In addition to the churches, organizers of this project include: the New Haven Free Public Library, the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project, the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School, Dwight Hall at Yale, My Brother’s Keeper, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Wilton Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the ACLU of Connecticut, Malta Justice Initiative, and Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice.
The projects goals? To provide opportunities to experience a simulation of isolation; to educate people about the use of solitary confinement, including practices in Connecticut; and to equip people to advocate for stopping or limiting the use of solitary confinement, precisely because such prolonged isolation is cruel, unusual, and degrading treatment.
INSIDE THE BOX: PUBLIC DISPLAY OF REPLICA SOLITARY CONFINEMENT CELL
Experience, Get Educated, and Become Equipped to Advocate
January 28 – February 18, 2017
New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street, Mon., Jan. 30 – Sat. Feb. 4
Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library, 120 High Street, Sun., Feb. 5 – Sat., Feb. 11
Yale Law School Library, 127 Wall Street, Mon. Feb. 13- Sat., Feb. 18
Schedule of Events
Mon. Jan. 30, 1:30 pm Opening Press Conference with Mayor Toni Harp; William Ginsberg, the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven; Keishar Tucker, solitary survivor; Steve Lance and Sameer Jaywant, Yale Law School; State Senator Gary Winfield; Martha Brogan, City Librarian. [New Haven Free Public Library]
Weds., Feb. 1, 6 pm Screening of the documentary “The Worst of the Worst,” followed by panel discussion with solitary survivors and survivors’ family members. Co-sponsored by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. [Program Room, New Haven Free Public Library]
Thurs., Feb. 2, 6:30 pm Judy Dworin Performance Project, “Outside In: Selections from Brave in a New World and In Her Shoes,” presented through spoken word and movement the voices of those who have been incarcerated. [New Haven Free Public Library]
Tues, Feb. 7, 10 am Public Briefing on Solitary Confinement by the Connecticut Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. [Old Judiciary Room, Capitol Building, Hartford, Connecticut]
Tues., Feb. 7, 7 pm “HALTing Solitary Confinement: the Importance of Legislation to End Torture,” by Five Mualimm-ak, Incarcerated Nation Corp., human rights and mental health advocate, core member of the NY Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC). Five years spent in several forms of solitary confinement during his incarceration, now an integral member of national legislative groups and coalitions working to end the practice of solitary.
[Dwight Hall Chapel, Old Campus, Yale University]
Weds., Feb. 8, 6:10 Advocacy Panel: the How-To’s of Advocating to Stop Solitary in Connecticut.
Panelists: Five Mualimm-ak, Incarcerated Nation Corp.; Barbara Fair, My Brother’s Keeper, David McGuire, ACLU of CT; State Senator Gary Winfield; Hope Metcalf, Executive Director, Orville
H. Schell Center for Human Rights, Yale Law School, moderator. [Yale Law School, Room # TBD]
Thurs., Feb. 9, 12:10 pm 23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement, book talk by author Keramet Reiter, Assistant Professor, University of California, Irvine.
[Faculty Lounge, Yale Law School]
Thurs., Feb. 9, 6:30 pm Lifelines to Solitary: A Prison Correspondence Project, presented by Jean Casella, co-director and editor of Solitary Watch, and Johnny Perez, re-entry advocate and survivor of solitary confinement. Jean and Johnny present about the Lifelines correspondence program, specifically designed to reach out to people in solitary confinement. [Bradley Room, United Church on the Green, 270 Temple Street]
Sun., Feb. 12, 6:30 pm Screening of “13th: From Slavery to Criminal with one Amendment,” hosted by United Church on the Green, with a potluck at 5:30 pm proceeding the film. [Bradley Room, United Church on the Green, 270 Temple Street]
Mon., Feb. 13, 6:10 pm Screening of documentary film, “Solitary,” followed by a panel discussion with: film maker Kristi Jacobson; A. T. Wall, graduate of Yale College, Yale Law School, and the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections; and Reginald Dwayne Betts, Yale Law School 2016, Liman Fellow at the New Haven Public Defenders’ Office, and an award winning poet and author. Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law, Yale Law School, moderator.
[Room #127, Yale Law School]
Thurs., Feb. 16, 4 pm Talk by Scott Semple, CT Commissioner of Corrections.
[Room #129, Yale Law School, to be confirmed]
Sat., Feb. 18, noon Program on the recently released Arthur Liman Public Interest Program book, Aiming to Reduce Time-in-cell: Reports from Correctional Systems on the Numbers of Prisoners in Restricted House and the Potential of Policy Changes to Bring About Reforms, Rebellious Lawyering Conference (RebLaw2017)
[Yale Law School]