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Cruel and Unusual: Solitary confinement as torture in the U.S. prison system A c

Description: Cruel and Unusual: Solitary confinement as torture in the U.S. prison system
A call to action

April 18th at Brockport Downtown – 161 Chestnut Street Rochester, NY 14604 Room 148
6 to 8:30 p.m. with refreshments available 6 to 6:30 – no registration fee required.


Solitary confinement serves as a core mechanism of our racist and classist system of mass incarceration. Currently this affects 80,000 to 100,000 inmates in the United States alone. What impact does this practice have on inmates’ mental health? What does structural racism have to do with mass incarceration? Hear from those who have lived experience from the perspectives of a formerly incarcerated individual and a social worker who was in charge of a solitary unit at Rikers Prison. Learn about alternatives to long term solitary and visions for transformed systems of incarceration.

Participate in a virtual reality experience to glimpse what it's like to be held in Solitary Confinement (a 6 x 9 space) for 22-24 hrs a day for months, years and decades with no human contact or interaction. The voices and noises you hear are real people.

A full-size replica of a typical solitary confinement cell will be on display during this event to give participants the chance to experience the effects of isolation.

Workshop facilitators:

Victor Pate - employed by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture as the NY Statewide Campaign Organizer for The Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement. Victor became involved in the Criminal Justice arena after experiencing and overcoming the many obstacles faced by the formerly incarcerated coming home and striving to regain a foothold on life.

Sandra Bernabei, a social worker and community organizer with the Antiracist Alliance, who brought the undoing racism® workshop to over 18,000 New York City social workers. She’s on the NY regional leadership team of The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, working to build a broad based movement for undoing racism and for the elimination of racial disparities in human services.

Mary Buser, social worker and author of award-winning book, Lockdown on Rikers: Shocking Stories of Abuse and Injustice at New York’s Notorious Jail, worked in the Rikers Island Mental Health Department. She served as Assistant Chief of Mental Health in the 500-cell Punitive Segregation Unit. Post Rikers, she has been an outspoken advocate for the incarcerated, especially the mentally ill and those in solitary confinement.

* Moderated by Melanie Funchess - Director of Community Engagement at the Mental Health Association of Rochester


E-mail bkasper@brockport.edu for more information or leave a message at 585-395-5509

Organized by the Rochester Social Welfare Action Alliance and presented by Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement.

Sponsored by: the Student Social Work Organization and the Department of Social Work at the College at Brockport; New York State Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement; the National Religious Campaign Against Torture; Police Accountability Board; United Christian Leadership; the Flying Squirrel; Rochester Poor People’s Campaign; Roc/ACTS – and funded by a grant from the National Homelessness Social Work Initiative
Location: Brockport Downtown – 161 Chestnut Street Rochester, NY 14604 Room 148
Date: Thursday, April 18, 2019
Time: 6:00pm EDT
Priority: 5-Medium
Access: Public
Created by: Ted Wilcox
Updated: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 10:09pm GMT