Solitary confinement of prisoners exists under a range of names: isolation, control units, supermax prisons, the hole, SHUs, administrative segregation, maximum security, or permanent lockdown.
Prisoners can be placed in these units for many reasons: as punishment while they are under investigation; as a mechanism for behavior modification, when suspected of gang involvement; as retribution for political activism; or to fill expensive, empty beds, to name but a few.
The STOPMAX Campaign, sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), works to eliminate the use of isolation and segregation in U.S. prisons.
Our strategies include research, grassroots organizing, public education and policy advocacy to abolish solitary confinement or reduce its use.
To lay the groundwork for the campaign, we researched the use of isolation in a cross-section of correctional facilities: state Departments of Corrections, Departments of Juvenile Corrections, and immigration detention centers.
On Feb. 18, 2009, the Pew Hispanic Center issued a report on the ethnic composition of people caught up in the federal prison system. The Immigration Policy Center's Director, Angela Kelley, issued the following statement:
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.