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Solitary Confinement Effects

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There are currently two types of solitary confinement that are commonly used today. The first is known as disciplinary segregation, which is used when an inmate breaks the rules. Secondly there is administrative segregation for when an inmate is seen as being a risk to the safety of staff or even other prisoners. Even though the means and conditions may vary from facility to facility the average time spent in confinement is thirty seven days. While some research defends that solitary confinement may be a humane practice for prisons to use, the majority still argues that a wide range of psychological and physiological effects are associated with solitary confinement. These effects can be greatly enhanced in people with mental health problems,…show more content…
Confinement is considered to be harmful to an inmate’s mental health. Lengthier stays in solitary have been associated with more mental health symptoms, resulting in extreme emotional and behavioral consequences. Depending on the individual and the length of the stay in confinement the emotional effects can range from acute to chronic. Deprived of social interaction, a stimulus humans need to stay healthy and to be able to function properly, many mental health issues have been reported by the isolated inmates. This can include anxiety, panic, paranoia, insomnia, aggression, depression, self-harm, and thoughts of suicide. These inmates have also reported feelings of panic and rage, that they had poor impulse control during their stay in solitary confinement. Compared to the general prison population, the rates of suicide and self-harm as particularly high in the isolation unit. Both can be a result of depression, or poor impulse control. More psychological symptoms that prisoners may experience disrupted thinking, hallucinations, and illusions. In extreme cases inmates get to the point that they exhibit full-blown psychosis and require hospitalization to be helped and treated. These effects were factors cited when a Senate panel called for a ban on the practice for juveniles, the mentally ill, and pregnant
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