The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Louisiana Prisoners Sue to End Solitary Confinement

Apr 3, 2017

Three Louisiana death row inmates filed a class-action lawsuit against a prison policy requiring all prisoners on death row to be kept in solitary confinement until their execution. They say the policy amounts to “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Because of the policy, many death row inmates in Louisiana spend decades in solitary. Currently there are 71 prisoners on death row in the state, all housed at the notorious Angola State Penitentiary. Fifty-six of those have been in solitary confinement for over 10 years, 45 for over 15 and 20 for more than 20 years.

Death row inmates are kept in small 8 foot by 10 foot cells, with no windows, for 23 hours a day. They are only allowed to leave their cells for one hour per day to shower, make phone calls and walk near their cells. They have no human contact with anyone other than prison employees.

These prisoners are right. Being kept in solitary for any extended period is a form of torture. Human beings are social beings, and need human contact.

The death penalty itself is inhumane, and certainly as long as prisoners are being incarcerated, they deserve to be treated like human beings!