Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning Sent to Solitary over Suicide Attempt

That seems counterproductive.


Chelsea Manning
Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning, in military prison for releasing classified military documents to Wikileaks while serving in Iraq, will be sent to solitary confinement partly due to a July suicide attempt.

Manning attempted to kill herself in her cell in July. In response to her failed attempt, she faced additional administrative punishment, including solitary confinement, transfer to a more secure prison, and the elimination of any possibility for parole.

Today a disciplinary board decided to punish Manning with 14 days in solitary confinement, seven of which will be suspended.

Of the charges, she was acquitted of one: "Resisting the Force Cell Move Team." This was a strange bureaucratic accusation that potentially punishes a prisoner for anything that requires this team to be called to remove somebody from a prison cell, regardless of the reason. She was found guilty of "Conduct Which Threatens" because her suicide attempt disrupted the orderly operations of the prison. She was also found guilty of having an unauthorized book, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, about the activists of Anonymous, in her cell.

One does not have to believe that Manning was innocent and one does not have to support the legitimacy of Manning's transgender identity to be concerned about the use of solitary confinement as a form of punishment for somebody who clearly acted out due to mental health issues and frustrations. If Manning were a less polarizing figure and had been diagnosed with something much less culturally controversial like bipolar disorder, it would be very easy to grasp that isolating somebody who had attempted suicide is an absurd response for a prison.

The Obama administration has ordered an end to putting juveniles in federal prisons in solitary confinement. Some states are attempting to scale back on the practice as evidence increasingly shows that it doesn't help, and should really only be considered as a last resort, not a form of punishment.

Read more from Fight for the Future, the activist group supporting Manning, here.

NEXT: Keith Scott Family Releases Video of Charlotte Shooting Before Police Release Theirs

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This is my WHAF face :/

    1. Also, my WGAF face :\

  2. She was also found guilty of having an authorized book

    Did you mean an unauthorized book?

  3. And secondly, the appropriate response to someone attempting suicide is to let them succeed.

  4. concerned about the use of solitary confinement as a form of punishment for somebody who clearly acted out due to mental health issues and frustrations.

    She got solitary confinement for the gender transition too? /runs away

  5. I’m having trouble with the Mental Health issues/ frustration bit.

    This really speaks to two entirely different motivations, and I can’t really judge them together like you’ve presented them.

  6. We learned yesterday that when you’re suicidal, you’re not supposed to talk about it with anybody, because trigger warnings or whatnot.

  7. The gender stuff notwithstanding, it’s clear that the government is intent on being as intentionally cruel to this person as they think they can get away with. But to what ends? They aren’t torturing this person for information, they’re just being senselessly cruel. I guess I don’t get it.

    1. Disobeyed the kings, men, um, I mean individuals.

    2. It’s military prison. It’s going to be multiple times as stupid as a normal prison.

      1. Having once toured said prison, it’s actually a lot better than normal prison.

        It’s run based on military discipline; follow the rules and make your bed, and you are rewarded with privileges.

        Murderers who are there for 30 years end up in low security with day to day jobs on the post. They work in the furniture shop or get out to mow lawns, or a myriad of other things.

        Fuck-ups who are there for 3 years end up in max security with little life of their own.

        There’s no shankings or butt-raping. The federal prison less than a mile from the USDB is a living hell in comparison.

    3. They aren’t torturing this person for information

      Can’t quite bring yourself to call Manning a “she,” but you’re worried that you’ll step on toes by calling him a “he”? 😉

  8. “And secondly, the appropriate response to someone attempting suicide is to let them succeed.”


  9. Trying to give a shit, but I’m constipated.

    1. Sue for defecation of character!

  10. The beatings will continue until morale improves.

  11. I know someone who was in Federal prison and the way suicide was handled was, if they think you’re a suicide risk, you go to the suicide-watch cell, which is much worse than solitary confinement. In the suicide-watch cell, you’re not allowed to have anything you could conceivably use to harm yourself, no books, newspapers, or magazines, you could wad up the pages and swallow them to choke yourself. No radio, no electronics of any kind. No writing implements. No cloth clothing, you could swallow it or tear it into strips and use as rope–instead you wear a rigid, uncomfortable, body-armor-like plastic garment, which is open in back so you’re bare-ass. No toilet paper–when you take a dump you ask the guard and he gives you just enough to wipe yourself once. And you’re constantly being observed. MUCH worse than the “hole”.

    1. Damn Mr Toad- that sounds terrible!

      I spent 73 consecutive days in “solitary confinement” in a 7’x9′ cell— when I was 15.

      Only book allowed was a bible. No writing at all- including to my parents. It was 1979, so any electronics- including radio- were out of the question. The whole “1 hour daily in the yard for exercise”- didn’t happen. I was actually straight-jacketed to my bed for 3 days-twice– simply because they caught me doing push-ups. I got 15 minutes before wake-up call to shit and shower (shaving was still unnecessary), and I got 5 minutes for a piss break on shift changes.

      What do you think I did to deserve that?

      1)Ate my “Speed Stick” deodorant to get a trip to the hospital, where I beat the guard to escape for 2 weeks.
      2)Smuggled 10 Quaaludes in during visitation, got busted when I collapsed at dinner.
      3)The dude in the next cell and I actually removed one of the 6x9x12 blocks between our cells with a dinner fork.
      4)Participated in the restroom beatdown of a new inmate- who totally needed it.
      5)Described “disco” dancing as “nigger dancing” in front of a black staffer.

      Every one of these things actually happened during my 8 months of confinement- and nobody else on this list did more than three days of solitary. I did SEVENTYTHREE- and I’ll bet you can guess which was my offense.

      Why does Bradley Manning need a gov’t financed pussy? His seems to work quite well, already…

  12. So, if pretending to be a transsexual doesn’t work, the next step is suicide threats? Exactly who are you threatening with that? It seems like a poor strategy. Maybe Chelsea should have asked for advice from Bruce Jenner.

  13. Manning is a traitor to his kind.

  14. The penalty for attempting suicide should be death.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.