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Solitary Confinement & Human Rights: An Evening of American Stories

Listen in as activists consider the U.S.’s use of solitary confinement. Through art and story, we look at three regionally diverse cases. Keynote speakers for this event are Robert King, activist and author, and Tessa Murphy from Amnesty International.

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Listen in as activists consider the U.S.’s use of solitary confinement. Through art and story, we look at three regionally diverse cases. Keynote speakers for this event are Robert King, activist and author, and Tessa Murphy from Amnesty International. The stories reflect on the Angola 3, California Secure Housing Units, and Tamms supermax prison.


Forty years ago, three men—the “Angola 3"—were convicted of murder and condemned to solitary confinement in Louisiana’s Angola prison. Two have remained in isolation ever since. The third, Robert King, was released after 29 years and is committed to sharing his story with the world.

Hundreds of prisoners have been confined in California’s high-security segregation units for 10 or more years in conditions of severe isolation. The issue caught the public eye when, in 2011, inmates launched a hunger strike. Tessa Murphy will share Amnesty International’s recent research on conditions in CA security housing units.

Two hundred inmates in Illinois Tamms Closed Maximum Security Unit (CMAX) languish in prolonged solitary confinement. Governor Quinn blocked funding to the facility in July, 2012, but it remains open today. The story of Tamms will be told through the “Tamms Year Ten Campaign Office” exhibit at Sullivan Galleries.

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Recorded Friday, November 9, 2012 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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