Solitary Confinement Impact On Juveniles

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Impact of Solitary Confinement on Juvenile Offenders According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the number of juveniles held in adult facilities has quadrupled since 1990 and ranges from seventy to ninety percent of the proportion of inmates. Approximately, two hundred thousand minors are sentenced to juvenile facilities, jails, and prisons (Rodriquez, 2016). Many of these juveniles are held in solitary confinement. Today the term solitary confinement has been replaced with segregation or restrictive housing to make it seem as if this indeterminate punishment is not as severe. These terms are often used interchangeably. Juveniles are sentenced to a small cell approximately six to eight feet wide and exiled from…show more content…
Solitary confinement plays a negative toll on the teenage brain. Juveniles are more apt than adults to misbehave due to the fact the prefrontal cortex, which controls judgment, meta-cognition, and rationality is changing, transforming, and developing (Juvenile Justice Center, 2004). Research has shown the growth of the teenage brain is far less developed than before increasing their “germane of criminal capability (Juvenile Justice Center, 2004).” Adolescents depend on the peers and social cues as a mean of survival. Solitary confinement is harmful to juveniles because, it deprives the human mind of psychological stimulus which is needed in order to remain healthy (Smith, 2006). Isolating juveniles from human interaction makes their deficiency much more severe than adults. Segregation also affects the cognitive memory. Juveniles in solitary confinement are not allowed to exercise their minds on a daily basis so the brain in most cases goes dormant; resulting in inmates feeling disoriented (Corcoran, 2016). Not to mention their ability to cope with situations is frail. Coping responses are developed throughout an individual’s lifespan (Lazarus, 1996). According to Neilson (2016), “the capacity for imagination—often the only diversion for people in solitary—is incompletely developed in teens, resulting in the mental images teens conjure…show more content…
Adolescents cannot control their impulses resulting in juveniles acting out in verbal and physical violence. “Adolescent depression can also create anger and hostility, which “increases the likelihood that [depressed youth] with provoke angry responses from other youth (and adults)” and “increase[s] the risk of altercations with other youth (Tandy, 2012).” Expressing their violent behavior outward often leads to lengthening their stay in solitary resulting in perceptual disturbances. According to Shalev (2008), isolation can affect hypersensitivity to noise and smells and cause hallucinations. Juveniles have reported seeing people appear in their cells as well as, hearing voices in their head (when no one is speaking). Juveniles whom experience disrupted thinking experience a mild case of psychosis. The length of their stay in solitary will determine the severity of their case. Maztner (2010) notes, “the stress, lack of meaningful social contact, and unstructured days can exacerbate symptoms of illness or provoke recurrence.” Adolescents experiencing hallucinations are reported and placed on medication resulting in them becoming medically ill patients for the remainder of their life (Corcoran, 2016). Facilities have stated approximately fifteen percent of the population incarcerated has been diagnosed with a mental illness. According to Matzner (2010), studies have shown eight to
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