Solitary confinement destroys lives. A prisoner looks out of his solitary confinement cell on the administrative segregation wing of the Ferguson Unit, 1997, outside of Lovelady, Texas.Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images Different states and prison systems define solitary confinement conditions differently, so reliable statistics about its prevalence are hard to come by, as Michigan Sate University researcher Jesenia Pizarro, PhD, reports (The Prison Journal, 2008).
The issue of solitary confinement is a complicated and controversial one. A 2016 study by Yale Law School found that about 66,000 prisoners were in solitary confinement, based on data from 73 percent of the country’s … In one study of California’s prison system, researchers found that from 1999 to 2004 prisoners in solitary confinement accounted for nearly half of all suicides. Over the past four decades, prisons across the country have increasingly relied on solitary confinement—isolating prisoners in small poorly-lit cells for 23-24 hours per day—as a disciplinary tool for prisoners who are difficult to manage in the general population. “Inmates ever assigned to solitary confinement were 3.2 times as likely to commit an act of self-harm per 1,000 days at some time during their incarceration as those never assigned to solitary…. But research has shown that these conditions cause serious mental Solitary confinement is a form of imprisonment distinguished by living in single cells with little or no meaningful contact to other inmates, strict measures to control contraband, and the use of additional security measures and equipment.It is specifically designed for disruptive inmates who are security risks to other inmates, the prison staff, or the prison itself. The study’s findings include: Solitary confinement was “strongly associated” with increased risk of self-harm.

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