Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Special Rapporteur on Torture

Observations on Communications Transmitted to Governments

Special Rapporteur on Torture

Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez – Addendum: Observations on communications transmitted to Governments and replies received, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/25/60/Add.2 (March 11, 2013).


In this report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur on torture provides observations on his communications with numerous countries regarding issues of concern. With regards to the United States, Mr. Méndez comments on communications with the U.S. government about alleged prolonged solitary confinement in New York state prisons; at the U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado; at the Louisiana State Penitentiary and the David Wade Correctional Centre, Louisiana; and in California prisons.

The Special Rapporteur reminds the United States of his 2011 report, in which he stated that “where the physical conditions and the prison regime of solitary confinement cause severe mental and physical pain or suffering, when used as a punishment, during pre-trial detention, indefinitely, prolonged, on juveniles or persons with mental disabilities, it can amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and even torture” (p. 124).


Click here to read the report.

Click here to read the Special Rapporteur’s 2011 report.


Keywords: international standards, international norms, international law, torture, human rights, supermax, super-max, long-term segregation, prolonged segregation, long-term solitary confinement, indefinite segregation, indefinite solitary confinement, administrative segregation