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18:00 - 19:00 10 March 2014

Is Prolonged Solitary Confinement Cruel and Inhumane? The Experience of California Prisoners


Seminar Room 4 | Bentham House (link Map)
4–8 Endsleigh Gardens | London | WC1H 0EG | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Alumni | Public | Student
Admission: Free
Ticketing: Pre-booking essential

Speaker information

Professor Jules Lobel, is President of the Centre for Constitutional Rights and the Bessie McKee Walthour Endowed Chair Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School. On behalf of the Centre, Professor Lobel is lead counsel representing the prisoners at Pelican Bay in a Federal Court class action lawsuit challenging California's use of prolonged solitary confinement. He also argued the U.S. Supreme Court due process case against Ohio's use of solitary in its supermax prison.

California holds several thousand prisoners in solitary confinement throughout the state. Over 1000 of these prisoners confined in isolation are at Pelican Bay State Penitentiary. They live in 80 square foot windowless cells, locked in their cells for 22 ½ to 24 hours a day. Hundreds of prisoners have been held in solitary for over a decade, many for over two decades. Last summer, 30,000 California prisoners went on hunger strike in protest over California's use of solitary.

This talk will discuss why United States courts have thus far refused to hold that the use of such prolonged solitary confinement constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, why that might change now, and the movement in California to end such use.


Kerry-Anne Tarlton
+44 (0)20 7679 1430 | k.tarlton@ucl.ac.uk


More information and booking