May 30, 2016

Inmates working on prison reform put in solitary

Solitary Watch

Three men incarcerated in Massachusetts who were working with a prison reform caucus of state legislators have been thrown in solitary confinement, in an apparent retaliation against their activism and an attempt to disrupt further communications.

In the middle of the night on March 23, 52-year-old Timothy Muise, 44-year-old Shawn Fisher, and 39-year-old Steven James were taken from their cells at the medium-security prison MCI Shirley, handcuffed, and transported by van to three separate prisons spread across the state (Norfolk, Bridgewater, and Gardner), where they were placed in solitary confinement. Muise has since been moved to a different cell every 30 days, while Fisher and James have also been moved more than once.

The three did not receive their underwear or other basic belongings until 41 days after their midnight transfer. Since their placement in solitary confinement, the men’s communication abilities have been significantly curtailed, limited to two phone calls a week for 15 minutes, two one-hour non-contact visits a week, and writing letters.

Muise and Fisher are longtime advocates for prisoners’ rights and prison reform. In the past year, they have organized multiple meetings with the Legislative Harm Reduction Caucus, a coalition of 70 state legislators working to “address the root causes and symptoms of mass incarceration.”

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