Arguments Against Solitary Confinement

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Over 80,000 inmates in the United States are in Solitary Confinement as said by the Bureua of Justice Statistics (“Solitary Confinement Facts”). Because the federal government doesn’t keep count of the number if inmates in Solitary Confinement, there is no more recent data. However, solitary confinement is a form of punishment used all over the country. Solitary confinement is used as a punishment for the most “dangerous” criminals, but is the right way to approach the problem? Sarah Jo Pender, a woman who experienced solitary confinement in the Indiana Women’s Prison writes,
Women who enter sane will become so depressed that they shut down or hurt themselves. I watched a woman claw chunks of flesh from her cheeks and nose and write on the
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Solitary confinement goes back many years when the Quakers and Calvinists began the punishment in the nineteenth century (Warnes). Like many people now, prisoners back then said they preferred any other punishment that wasn’t isolation. There was an article that was titled something like, “Solitary Confinement, A Punishment worse than Death.” While the prisoners are still allowed to live, they are deprived from so many things and are exposed to metal illnesses. So what is solitary confinement? Solitary confinement is when a prisoner is locked away in a relatively small cell away from any human contact. Inmates in isolation spend most of their day—23 hours to be exact—locked away. They are given one hour to go outside; however, once there, they meet yet another small cage. (Do I cite if it’s a summary of my sources?) Solitary confinement is used for a variety of reasons—some that are quite absurd. A prisoner can be sent into isolation if they have commited a serious crime like killing another inmate or creating a fight or even assaulting a guard. Sometimes inmates are placed in solitary confinement because they need protection from other people—but is it really protection if they end up with a mental illness? Now listen to this, many inmates in solitary confinement aren’t in there because they have committed a serious crime, but because they have simply upset the guards and broken minor…show more content…
Abraham Moslow, a psychologist, created the Hierarchy of Needs in 1943 while studying the Theory of Human Motivation. He wanted to answer the question of what keeps someone from reaching their full potential, so he created the hierarchy with four basic human needs. The pyramid starts with psychological needs like food and water, then safety, love and belonging, and finally self esteem (Bassett 415). Bassett uses the hierarchy of needs to explain some of the psychological effects inmates go through while being in solitary confinement. As explained in the article, putting prisoners in isolation takes away their basic need of belonging. Some of the prisoners in solitary confinement are gang members. The primary reason of why they are isolated, is to hopefully create a less violent environment; however, many times normal people join gangs to find their sense of belonging. Consequently, when they are isolated, these people have an even greater desire to meet their need of belonging (Bassett 417-418). In the documentary, Solitary Nation, there are scenes in which the inmates are throwing feces out their doors or flooding their cells by flushing their toilets (Edge et al). Bassett backs this up in his article by saying that when inmates are desperate for that need of belonging, they start acting out to get that attention from other people in one way or another (417). When inmates are
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