The Yale Law Journal


Reactions to Time-In-Cell

15 Jan 2016

These essays respond to Time-In-Cell, a report based on research jointly sponsored by the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) and by the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School. For more information on the release of the report, please click here.


Time-In-Cell: Isolation and Incarceration

Judith Resnik, Sarah Baumgartel & Johanna Kalb

What is solitary confinement, and what has been constitutional law’s relationship to the practices of holding prisoners in isolation? One answer comes from Wilkinson v. Austin,1 a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case discussing Ohio’s super-maximum security (“supermax”) prison, which opene…


Only Once I Thought About Suicide

Reginald Dwayne Betts

I. Every prison and jail in Virginia has a series of cells used for solitary confinement. Fairfax County Jail had three units for solitary confinement. None had windows. The R-Cells had ceilings so high that a tall man could not reach them by jumping. The other had a door so thick and hea…


Worse than Death

Alex Kozinski

For decades, lawyers and activists have questioned the constitutionality of our criminal justice system’s most severe punishments. Is lethal injection okay?1 What about a firing squad?2 How about life sentences for pirates3 or drug possessors4 or people who pass rubber checks?5 But we he…


The Liman Report and Alternatives to Prolonged Solitary Confinement

Jules Lobel

Introduction Our nation’s prisons and jails are often shrouded in secrecy. Media access to prisoners, particularly those in solitary, is limited or non-existent, and many states do not provide adequate data on how their penal systems actually operate.1 As Justice Kennedy recently put it…


Time-In-Cell: A Practitioner’s Perspective

Ashbel T. ("A.T.") Wall

Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that President Obama ordered the Department of Justice to review the practice of federal prison administrative segregation, commonly referred to as “solitary confinement.”1 The Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA), the mem…


Staying Alive: Reforming Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons and Jails

Marie Gottschalk

The United States is exceptional not only because it incarcerates so many people, but also because of the inhumane and degrading conditions that prevail in so many of its jails and prisons.1 This country stands alone among Western nations in its widespread and routine use of extreme and pro…