The ACLU of Virginia and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of Mr. Nicolas Reyes, a prisoner in Red Onion State Prison. Mr. Reyes has been held in solitary confinement for 12 and a half years. While this in itself is egregious, Mr. Reyes' conditions of confinement are especially isolating and dehumanizing as he does not read or write English in a prison that does nothing to accommodate Spanish speakers. As a result of his monolingualism and the refusal of the prison to provide appropriate language services, or to accommodate people who cannot read or write and people who suffer from mental health issues, he has no meaningful access to the Step-Down Program - a program designed to provide inmates with opportunities to return to the general population of the prison. We filed this suit to bring an end to these discriminatory and cruel practices for Mr. Reyes and to shine a light on the practice of solitary confinement in the Department of Corrections. 


Vishal Agraharkar and Eden Heilman, ACLU of Virginia

Date filed

September 4, 2018


U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia, Abingdon Division (transferred from Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division)


Judge James P. Jones



Case number