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Prisoner advocates launching book of letters from solitary confinement

Press Release – People Against Prisons Aotearoa
Prisoner advocacy organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA) will be launching its new publication this week. Letters From Lockdown is a collection of letters from prisoners who have experienced solitary confinement in New Zealand.

“Letters From Lockdown gives us a snapshot into the abysmal conditions of solitary confinement and the psychological effects it’s having on people who are subjected to it,” says PAPA spokesperson Kate McIntyre.

“Solitary confinement is one of the cruelest practices in our prisons. Every day in New Zealand, people are being routinely locked away and deprived of meaningful human contact for more than 22 hours a day. This isolation frequently drives prisoners to thoughts of suicide and self harm.”

According to McIntyre, the Department of Corrections puts someone in solitary confinement every 45 minutes, with 8% of these stays in solitary confinement exceeding 15 days.

McIntyre calls for an immediate end to the use of solitary confinement. “This practice is extremely harmful to prisoners, their whānau, and their communities. If we want to be a country that values human rights and human dignity, we cannot allow such a degrading practice to continue.”

“While Corrections and the government refuse to take action to to end solitary confinement, Letters From Lockdown provides a platform for incarcerated people to tell their stories.”

Letters From Lockdown will be launched today in Wellington at 6pm at The Freedom Shop, Newtown, in Auckland this Friday at 6.30pm at the Auckland Old Folks Association, and in Dunedin this Sunday at 2pm at Black Star Books.

Victoria University criminologist Dr. Liam Martin will be speaking at the Wellington launch, alongside formerly incarcerated community members, and PAPA members.

Support the campaign to end solitary confinement at endsolitary.papa.org.nz

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