In a landmark settlement Tuesday, the state of California agreed to end unlimited solitary confinement for most prison inmates, a major victory in a much-followed case concerning the indeterminate solitary confinement of Pelican Bay prisoners in California. The lead attorney in the case Ashker v. Governor of California and president of the Center for Constitutional Rights is Pitt Law Professor Jules Lobel.
"This brings California in line with more modern national prison practices," Lobel told the New York Times. "People have been kept in solitary confinement for outrageously long periods of time. That's one of the problems in the U.S. -- people are warehoused in these places, and now that's going to change."
Lobel told the Associated Press, "I think there is a deepening movement away from solitary confinement in the country and I think this settlement will be a spur to that movement."
Lawyers in the case told the Los Angeles Timesthat the settlement sets the tone for similar changes elsewhere in the nation. "This is a dramatic step forward," Lobel said.
In today's episode of NPR's All Things Considered covering the case, Lobel said that public opinion may be souring on solitary confinement. He pointed out that President Barack Obama and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy have both raised questions about the harmful consequences of isolating inmates.
"There clearly has been a fundamental shift in our society to recognizing that solitary confinement does present serious constitutional and psychological problems," he said.
The Institute for Energy Law and The Center for American and International Law, and the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation present the 6th Law of Shale Plays Conference which will occur in Pittsburgh, Sept. 10 - 11, 2015, at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Pitt Law students are welcome to register for this event. The cost to register for law students before Aug. 18 is $125. Highlights of this conference include:
The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040
Seismicity and Unconventional Oil and Gas Activity
Regional Update - Hot and Anticipated Litigation in the Shale Plays
Federal Air Regulation & Its Impact on Upstream and Midstream Operations