James Ridgeway

James Ridgeway is senior Washington correspondent for Mother Jones, and co-editor of Solitary Watch. James began his career as a contributor to the New Republic, Ramparts and the Wall Street Journal. Later, he was co-founder and editor of the political newsletters Mayday, Hard Times and the Elements.

Articles by this author

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Sunday, October 14, 2012 - 10:39am
Kids in Solitary Confinement: America's Official Child Abuse
Molly J said of her time in solitary confinement: "[I felt] doomed, like I was being banished … Like you have the plague or that you are the worst thing on earth. Like you are set apart [from] everything else. I guess [I wanted to] feel like I was part of the human race – not like some animal." Molly was just 16 years old when she was placed in isolation in an adult jail in Michigan. She described her cell as being "a box":
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 11:34am
Congress Unlocks America's Hidden Shame of Solitary Confinement
Imagine a place filled with closed, windowless cells. Each cell may be so small that you can extend your arms and touch the side walls. It may contain a bunk of poured concrete, a toilet, perhaps a small table and stool. A few personal possessions – books, family photos – may be permitted, or they may not.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 10:41am
A Hunger for Justice in Pelican Bay
On 21 July, prisoners in solitary confinement at California's notorious Pelican Bay State Prison began accepting the meals that were slipped to them through slots in their solid mental cell doors. For many, it was the first time they had eaten in three weeks.
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Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 9:46am
Mass Psychosis in the US: How Big Pharma Hooked Americans on Drugs
Has America become a nation of psychotics? You would certainly think so, based on the explosion in the use of antipsychotic medications.
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Friday, March 25, 2011 - 10:39am
The Threat of America's Nativist Far Right
As emerging reports would have it, Kevin William Harpham, 36, who is accused of setting a bomb to go off at the Martin Luther King Jr Day parade in Spokane, Washington, was yet another "lone wolf" terrorist, acting at his own behest and on his own behalf.
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Saturday, March 19, 2011 - 11:57am
Cruel and Usual: US Solitary Confinement
The spectre of Bradley Manning lying naked and alone in a tiny cell at the Quantico Marine Base, less than 50 miles from Washington, DC, conjures up images of an American Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, where isolation and deprivation have been raised to the level of torture. In fact, the accused Wikileaker, now in his tenth month of solitary confinement, is far from alone in his plight. Every day in the US, tens of thousands of prisoners languish in "the hole".
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Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 8:58am
Beyond Bradley Manning: The Lonely Battle Against Solitary Confinement
For the past few weeks, progressive commentators have been burning with outrage over the prison conditions endured by accused WikiLeaks source, Private Bradley Manning. For more than seven months, Manning has been held in 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement at a Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia, denied sunlight, exercise, possessions, and all but the most limited contact with family and friends.
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Monday, March 1, 2010 - 8:34am
GOP to the Unemployed: Drop Dead (You Bums)
On Sunday, unemployment benefits officially ended for hundreds of thousands of Americans, thanks to maneuverings by Senate Republicans to prevent a vote that would have extended those benefits. Unless the extension is passed soon, some 1.1 million of the nation's unemployed will see their unemployment expire in the coming month, and
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010 - 9:34am
The Airport Scanner Scam
Scan, baby, scan. That's the mantra among politicians at all levels in the wake of the thwarted terrorist attack aboard a Detroit-bound passenger jet. According to conventional wisdom, the would-be "underwear bomber" could have been stopped by airport security if he'd been put through a full-body scanner, which would have revealed the cache of explosives attached to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's groin.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 11:24am
Let Them Eat Zoloft
As the Senate takes up health care reform, we're sure to be treated to yet more scenes of our elected officials bending over backwards to kiss the gold-plated butts of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. So far, just about every new turn in the health care battle is confirming what many have known for some time: The US health care system is run largely for the benefit of these corporate giants, rather than for the American people, and no piece of legislation is likely to change that fact.
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