Entries by Moya Atkinson

SWASC Recommendations for NASW Criminal Justice Priorities, 2018-2019

SWASC’s Recommendations under NASW’s Criminal Justice Priorities for 2018-2019 By Moya Atkinson, MSW, Co-founder, SWASC, member of NASW-MD, former NASW-MD executive director (1993-2002) SWASC Background Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement (SWASC) was founded in October 2014 because health professionals who were working with incarcerated people in solitary confinement exposed the punitive, inhumane, degrading settings in […]

Will the social work profession assume ethical responsibility for the abolition of solitary confinement?

By Moya Atkinson, MSW, co-founder of Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement   Darla Spence Coffey, CEO and President of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) recently agreed to the request made by Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement (SWASC) to work together to develop instructional modules which will expose the ethical and practice challenges faced by […]


by Atul Gawande Public support for or tolerance of solitary confinement in American prisons is the dark side of American exceptionalism. With little concern or demurral, we have consigned tens of thousands of our own citizens to conditions that horrified our highest court a century ago. Our willingness to discard these standards for American citizens made […]

Why We Ended Long-Term Solitary Confinement in Colorado

by Rick Raemisch COLORADO SPRINGS — For years, the Colorado corrections system had a ready answer for inmates it wanted to punish. For almost any reason — smuggling drugs, talking back to a corrections officer, assaulting another prisoner — it would send an inmate to a cell the size of a parking spot. The inmate […]


By Shreya Mandal, Expert Witness for New York State Courts I was introduced to working with people in solitary confinement as the first mitigation specialist/ social worker at the Criminal Appeals Bureau of The Legal Aid Society of New York from 2005 to 2012. Now, I am an expert witness for the courts. After the […]

Council on Social Work Education Plans to Introduce Solitary Confinement as a Human Rights Violation

  Darla Spence Coffey, PhD, President and CEO of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has indicated support to disseminate instructional materials that SWASC is developing to assist faculty to teach about solitary confinement.  This is aligned with EPAS Competency #3, “Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice.” Within the United States, […]

Jihad Abdulmumit: “Cognitive Dissonance”

By Jihad Abdulmumit Cognitive Dissonance Since being held in both Attica and Southport Special Housing Units (SHU) for the past several months (12/5/16 to 3/21/17), each week, once a day, a psychologist stops at each cell asking its inhabitant, “How are you doing? Are you feeling all right?” When the prisoner responds “I’m Okay,” the […]

Mariposa McCall: “Change is Possible!”

I am Mariposa McCall, a psychiatrist in Northern California who is hoping our colleagues and professional organizations recognize publically and use their influence to bring an end to prolonged solitary confinement in American jails, prisons, and detention centers. Not only is there is a great need for solidarity among individuals and organizations to uphold human […]

Political Prisoners and the National Jericho Movement

  SWASC is concerned about the treatment of people who are in solitary confinement because of their political convictions. National Jericho Movement: Jericho is a movement with the defined goal of gaining recognition of the fact that political prisoners and prisoners of war exist inside of the United States, despite the United States’ government’s continued […]