By Sandy Bernabei

SWASC intern Marguerita Johnson Tolson has been arranging “Learn at Lunch” sessions on the NY metro area college campuses so that fellow social work students can be introduced to the issues of solitary confinement, and specifically the issues of dual loyalty – the ethical dilemmas that Social Workers face when they are working in corrections and participate in decisions around solitary confinement. We believe solitary to be torture.

By the end of this school semester we will have presented eight learn at lunches in addition created a one hour video that is being shown to the policy classes at Touro College New York City. SWASC Members Mary Buser, Gail Golden and Sandy Bernabei join Marguerita in this outreach effort. To request resources, please email

Now we are asking each of you to do your outreach in whatever community you are networked into. Please do not remain silent about Solitary Confinement while 80-100,000 human beings are trapped and remain invisible each year infractions as minor as possession of too many postage stamps.  Create an opportunity for others to learn the truth about solitary confinement.

Take Action. We need everyday people, like me and you, to show these videos to our informal and formal networks. Use your smart phone. Keep it Simple. Discussion will automatically follow from these provocative and thoughtful presentations.

SWASC has created two 7 minute videos that encapsulates what people need to know.

Marguerita Johnson Tolson BSW, CASAC-T is a graduate student at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Services. She is completing an internship with Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement.

Sandra Bernabei, LCSW is a co-convener and steering committee member of SWASC as well as a community organizer and a social worker in private practice in Westchester and NYC. She is the past-president of NASW-NYC.
Sandy is the founding member of the Antiracist Alliance.