The ACLU of North Carolina and North Carolina Prisoner Legal
Services (NCPLS) filed a class-action lawsuit in July 2021 that challenges the state's use of solitary confinement as a violation of the state constitution's ban on cruel or unusual punishment.
The ACLU of NC and NCPLS are representing four people, all of whom have spent years locked in solitary confinement. The first plaintiff, Rocky Dewalt, has been held in solitary confinement for more than 12 years and routinely experiences anxiety, depression, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts. The second plaintiff, Robert Parham, has been held in solitary confinement for nearly a decade and has a long history of mental and physical health problems. The third plaintiff, Anthony McGree, has been held in solitary confinement for almost four years and has attempted suicide several times. The fourth plaintiff, Shawn Bonnett, spent nearly a decade in solitary confinement and recently was placed back in solitary for non-violent rules infractions.
The ACLU of NC states, "Approximately 3,000 people were being held in some form of solitary confinement in North Carolina as of July 2019, hundreds for periods of months or years. Solitary confinement is a cruel and unnecessary practice that destroys people’s mental health, degrades their human dignity, and makes prison conditions all the more dangerous, and should only be used as a last resort, for the shortest duration possible, and when there is no other option to address an imminent safety threat."
Click here for the Dewalt v. Hooks--NC Supreme Court Appeal--Plaintiff-Apellants' Brief: