The Darkest Corner: Special Administrative Measures and Extreme Isolation in the Federal Bureau of Prisons
Sep 29, 2017

The Darkest Corner, authored by the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School in collaboration with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), documents the imposition of Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), prison regulations that compound the debilitating effects of solitary confinement.

The report is based primarily on interviews with over a dozen attorneys and other members of defense teams, as well as family members of prisoners under SAMs. It also relies on FOIA documents obtained by Human Rights Watch, Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute, and Yale Law School’s Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic, which have not previously been made public and are published as an annex to the report. Learn more here.

The report discusses the near-total isolation created by SAMs, which some prisoners have lived under for decades; their coercive effect when imposed on defendants awaiting trial; the manner in which the gag on prisoners, family members and attorneys, and an explicit ban on prisoners’ communication with the media, operate to prevent scrutiny of the debilitating effects of SAMs; and the way such lack of transparency and accountability enables discrimination and abuse – a concern of particular import under an administration that has openly discriminated against Muslims and other “disfavored” populations.

This report, the first to focus on SAMs, aims to shed some light into this darkest corner of the U.S. federal prison system.

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