The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has granted a preliminary injunction ordering the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to end the 36-year solitary confinement of prisoner Arthur Johnson.

Mr. Johnson filed suit earlier this year, asserting that the extreme duration and conditions of his solitary confinement violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Chief Judge Christopher Conner's order followed a two-day evidentiary hearing during which Mr. Johnson, Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel, and numerous other witnesses testified.

Judge Conner gave prison officials a week to come up with a step-down plan to monitor Mr. Johnson's mental health and gradually return him to the general prison population.

A link to the opinion is here.