‘It’s Still Driving People Mad’: Critic Of Solitary Confinement Discusses Its Difficulties

WGBH – All Things Considered
March 4th, 2019
By Barbara Howard

Reporter Chris Burrell, with our WGBH News partner the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, has been looking at solitary confinement in state prisons. Lizz Matos, executive director of the Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts, discussed the issue further with WGBH All Things Considered host Barbara Howard. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Barbara Howard: What’s going on beyond what Chris reported?

Lizz Matos: There’s something called the Department Disciplinary Unit (DDU), and that is arguably one of most restrictive units in the country still. You can be sentenced for a disciplinary infraction for up to 10 years. Prior to the state’s criminal justice overhaul, you’d be sentenced for 10 years with literally no way out, nothing you could do. You could be a model prisoner for the next nine years and you would not get out.

Howard: Is it solitary confinement?

Matos: Yes, absolutely. It’s 23 to 24 hours a day. You get five hours of recreation a week.

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