From our colleagues at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT):
Alarmingly, a question remains unanswered in Washington, D.C.: Why is the federal government planning to expand its supermax prison beds at a time when the rest of the nation is waking up to the horrors of solitary confinement? The federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) plans to add new ADX (Administrative Maximum) supermax prison beds, the most extreme form of solitary confinement, along with new Special Management Unit (SMU) cells, where two people are held in 23-hour-a-day lockdown.
NRCAT invites you to join a national call-in day on June 26 to urge Attorney General Eric Holder to build on his recent statements about the harms of solitary confinement by ensuring the BOP makes no increase in isolated confinement in the federal system.
NRCAT invites you to share, or modify and share the following call-in script, and take one minute on June 26, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, to call the comment line at 202-353-1555 and leave your message for Attorney General Holder.
“Hi, my name is _______. As a (faith affiliation/religious leader), I am calling to urge Attorney General Holder to build on his recent ‘Smart on Crime’ statements about the harms of solitary confinement by ensuring that the federal Bureau of Prisons does not activate the Thomson federal prison as a supermax facility with ADX and SMU beds, and that no increases are made to the use of isolated confinement in the federal prison system.
"Thank you for sharing my concerns on this International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.”
In a recent weekly video message about the harms of placing young people in solitary confinement, Attorney General Holder called for “an end to unnecessary or excessive seclusion of youth with disabilities, which can be counterproductive and in some cases extremely harmful.”
We know that solitary confinement harms all who are subjected to it, including youth and adults. So during Torture Awareness Month, join us in calling on Attorney General Holder to build on his recent statements about the harms of youth solitary confinement by ensuring that the BOP does not activate the Thomson prison as a supermax facility with ADX and SMU beds, and that no increases are made in isolated confinement. Invite members of your community to join with us on June 26 to call for Attorney General Holder's leadership to ensure that no new isolated confinement beds are added to the federal system.
More background information is available on the NRCAT website.
Rev. Laura Markle Downton
Director of U.S. Prisons Policy and Program