Alan Prendergast's recent post about convicted murderer Thomas Silverstein and a ruling that thirty years in solitary confinement doesn't constitute cruel and unusual punishment spurred plenty of comments on both sides of the issue. The following take is offered by someone who doesn't view Silverste ... More >>
After more than thirty years of solitary confinement -- including a quarter-century of good behavior, during which he committed no disciplinary infractions -- convicted killer Thomas Silverstein still poses too great a threat to other inmates, staff or himself to be allowed to circulate in the gener ... More >>
Reporters generally do a lousy job of analyzing the incarceration rate in the United States -- which, despite recent sentencing reforms, remains the highest in the world, with more citizens per capita behind bars than in Cuba, Rwanda or Russia. That's why a recent report by the Prison Policy Initiat ... More >>
Alan Prendergast's update on the story of murderer Thomas Silverstein, who's been held in solitary confinement for more than a quarter-century, examines the issue of whether conditions at Colorado's supermax facility are "extreme." A reader with expertise in the field responded with a look at balanc ... More >>
Federal judges in Denver are of two minds about the kind of punishment doled out at the supermax penitentiary in Florence. While one is allowing a Tanzanian terrorist's complaint about the prison's restrictions on his mail and visitors to proceed to trial, another has thrown out Thomas Silverstein's ... More >>
Matt MalloryComplaints of substandard health care in the Colorado prison system are nothing new, but a newly filed lawsuit by one inmate, alleging that he was neglected in his cell while vomiting blood for three days, makes for particularly interesting reading. For one thing, Matt Mallory's ... More >>
Colorado's supermax is so much fun the state is opening a second one. The release of a twelve-month study about the mental effects of solitary confinement at Colorado's supermax is still weeks away. But preliminary results leaked from the report -- which suggest state prisoners suffer little ... More >>
Thomas Silverstein at Atlanta's penitentiary (inset) in the 1980s and at ADX in 2007.When you've spent your time since the early days of the Reagan years in a cell smaller than some people's closets, progress tends to get measured in small, small increments rather than sweeping events. But T ... More >>
What goes on beyond the fence? Solitary Watch wants to know.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 priso ... More >>
Last week, a bill to end the death penalty in Colorado squeaked through the House of Representatives by one vote; it reaches a Senate committee on Wednesday afternoon, April 29. The abolitionists maintain that execution is too costly and time-consuming and that the money could be better spent fund ... More >>
True tales of crime and punishment. Consider this a shameless plug -- and a free preview. Every year Otto Penzler, the venerable founder of the Mysterious Press and owner of New York's Mysterious Bookshop, and novelist Thomas H. Cook put together an anthology of true crime writing from the country ... More >>
Earlier this year, "The Caged Life," Alan Prendergast's feature story about lockdown procedures at ADX Supermax, published last August, won a prestigious Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award as the top feature in the country during 2007 for a newspaper with a circulation under 1 ... More >>
The Bureau of Prisons is as good at keeping prisoners in as it is at keeping reporters out.
Is Thomas Silverstein a prisoner of his own deadly past — or the first in a new wave of locked-down lifers?