After Reforms to Solitary Confinement, Massachusetts Prisoners Say Officials Just Renamed It (Bolts)

Below is an excerpt from an article published by Bolts Magazine on March 29, drawing attention to the violations of solitary confinement reform conditions set out in Massachusetts. Prisoner’s Legal Services’ Jesse White and Bonnie Tenneriello are quoted. 


Massachusetts prison officials put Elosko Brown in isolated housing in 2020 after accusing him of participating in an altercation with guards that January at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, the state’s maximum-security prison for men. Brown, who disputes the charge, says prison officials had different names for the units they put him in—the Department Disciplinary Unit (DDU) at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Cedar Junction, where he lived until 2021, and the Secure Adjustment Unit (SAU) at Souza, where he’s currently incarcerated and remains in isolation four years later.

But whatever the names, Brown and other people incarcerated in these units say they only replicated the punitive solitary conditions that triggered state reforms several years ago, evading the reforms’ goal to reduce prolonged isolation in the Massachusetts prison system. Over the past year, Brown and others incarcerated in state prisons who say they suffer from long-term isolation have gone to great lengths to protest their conditions and advocate lawmakers for reforms—from launching a hunger strike last October to testifying remotely before a legislative committee in January.

Read more at Bolts Magazine.