Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Silverstein v. Federal Bureau of Prisons

Silverstein v. Federal Bureau of Prisons

Silverstein v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, No 12-1450 (10th Cir. 2014)


An incarcerated individual alleged that the duration of his 30 years in solitary confinement constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. First, the appellate court held that for a variety of reasons the six-year statue of limitations applies to his Eighth Amendment claims, so his initial complaint filed in 2007 can only claim injuries or conditions concerning time since 2001.

The court found that the conditions of the plaintiff at the U.S. Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado did not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation, nor did it find that his current mental symptoms of anxiety, depression, memory loss, and cognitive impairment were caused by the conditions of his segregation and not merely by the fact of his lengthy incarceration or other factors, such as age. Moreover, the court ruled that the Federal Bureau of Prisons was justified in housing Mr. Silverstein in segregated housing, in that transferring him to a “less secure facility would impair its ability to protect all who are inside the prison’s walls, including Mr. Silverstein himself, other inmates, and BOP personnel.”   


Click here to view the order and judgment.


Keywords: length of stay, supermax, super-max, deference, eighth amendment, constitution, long-term segregation, administrative segregation