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Introduction to Black & Pink Solitary in Illinois blog series

In July 2014, the Black and Pink Chicago chapter sent a letter to our 100+ Illinois members housed in solitary confinement requesting testimony about their experiences in isolation. We planned to share their testimony at an event with our “free world” penpals to develop our collective understanding about the conditions in, and impact of, solitary confinement. We received 37 responses, mostly from people in IDOC, as well as a few from people in Marion federal prison. After transcribing their responses and sharing it with our penpals we feel our members’ testimony needs to be shared with a broader audience. Thus we have started this blog series to amplify the voices of LGBTQ people in solitary.

Confidentiality is important to us. In our original letter requesting testimony we asked respondents to write whether or not they wanted their names and facilities shared. We stated that we planned to share testimony at a public event and may even post it to our website or facebook pages. Additionally, we wrote “As a matter of safety we will not print anyone’s name/facility without your explicit permission.” Any names and facilities mentioned herein are included with the explicit permission of our members.

We live in a time of growing knowledge of, and outrage about, solitary confinement. We hope this blog series expands our collective understanding about the horrors of solitary confinement and its particular impact on queer and trans people. More importantly, we hope it becomes another tool to help us end solitary confinement for all people, to move us away from a culture built on punishment and isolation and towards a culture based on restoration and community.

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  1. Chicago LGBTQ Inmates Speak Out Against Solitary Confinement, Homophobia | Denver Anarchist Black Cross

    […] the series on their website, Black & Pink explained that last summer, their Chicago chapter contacted to over 100 inmates in isolation to ask for their experiences. They received nearly 40 responses, mostly from the Illinois […]

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