Get in serious trouble, go to prison. Get into some bad shit inside prison -- attacking staff, running heroin, or maybe somebody doesn't like your gang tattoo -- and you go to the hole, also known as solitary confinement or (in prison speak) administrative segregation.
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Reporting what goes on inside solitary confinement units or entire supermax prisons can be difficult for journalists -- especially when the prison system (like the Colorado Department of Corrections) doesn't allow meddling outsiders to actually visit the bad boys of adseg. But Solitary Watch, a new website spearheaded by muckraking journalist James Ridgeway and developed by law faculty and students at Virginia's Washington and Lee University, hopes to provide citizens with a better view of the 100,000 or so prisoners now in some form of lockdown in this country.
Solitary Watch features blogs and links to other prison-related sites, research and academic resources dealing with the growing use of supermax prisons in many states -- and a feisty tone that promises some gritty firsthand reporting ahead.
Colorado, of course, is triply blessed with two state supermax prisons -- one brand-new and empty because of lack of funds, as well as the federal high-security complex at Florence that includes ADX, the highest-security prison in the land.
For more on what goes on inside such places, see our Crime and Punishment archive, which includes a profile of Thomas Silverstein , quite possibly the most isolated man in America; a report on suicides in the state supermax; and a top-secret snitch unit that operated inside ADX.