By definition, solitary confinement is the isolation of a prisoner in a separate cell as a form of punishment. This technique has been practiced in the United States since the early 1800’s and arguments on whether or not it should be practiced followed very soon after its institution. Arguments surrounding solitary confinement are slightly diverse, ranging from full support to views denouncing it. The arguments are more complex than just pro versus con; however, some reside in the middle of the argument, acknowledging its flaws and expecting reform, but also acknowledge the base purpose of the institution.
Solitary confinement is the act of housing a convict for 22-23 hours a day in an isolated cell, completely free from any human contact for an extended period of time. Going from days to possibly decades while sitting in these cells. There are more than 80,000 men, women, and children in solitary confinement in prisons across the United States according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Not including thousands more in jails, juvenile facilities, immigration detention centers and military prisons. After experiencing confinement some inmates suffer from negative mental health effects that can possibly lead to suicide. Solitary confinement should be abolished all across the United States because of the severe negative effects it has on prisoners.
In my honest opinion solitary confinement in the U.S. is not justified and only does more harm than good. Not only is it a rash punishment, but it is one of the worst kinds of psychological tortures that could be inflicted upon an inmate. Human beings are undoubtedly social creatures and without the mere contact of another person the mind decays and ultimately leads a person to anger, anxiety, and hopelessness. Psychologists also claim that solitary confinement and isolation in general also cause depression or the loss of ability to have any "feelings", cognitive disturbances, such as confused thought processes and disorientation, perceptual distortions, such as hypersensitivity to noises and smells, distortions of sensations, and hallucinations affecting all five senses, as well as paranoia and psychosis which often times involve schizophrenic type symptoms, and finally, the worst of all symptoms, being self-harm such as self-mutilation, cutting and even suicide attempts.
The reality of the situation is that prolonged exposure to very little human contact can lead to various mental and personality disorders that can make an inmate even more of a detriment to society (DOP, 16). Solitary confinement is also more expensive to taxpayers (Washington Post). There is no mental or financial support for continuing the practice of segregated
In Atul Gawande “ HellHole” essay they talked about the experiences and effects of people who were previously in solitary confinement. Solitary confinement can be best explained as the process of removing an individual and isolating them from their environment and socialization. Atul Gawande is specifically talking about prisoners of war and incarcerated people and how their experience was and that process. The essay talked about how people are put in isolation which caused them to act out of their character. Goffman would argue that effects of solitary confinement are exactly what total institutions can do to a person's.
According to Ann Trent, “Solitary confinement can also make it more difficult for inmates to integrate themselves back into society, as solitary confinement can cause inmates to lose the ability to regulate their lives and have normal interactions with people.” Although many people may think that SHU gives time to rethink and reevaluate, this isn't true. People that come from banishment from society to society probably will end up committing crimes and on the streets without a job after losing their friends because of their inability to have normal interactions. These people, even if they leave solitary confinement without
Solitary confinement, in my opinion, is cruel and unusual punishment. If there was not a mental-health crisis in America, and there was in fact a rehabilitation-focused prison system, solitary confinement would be greatly reduced and used much more sparingly. What is the point of driving people to madness by putting them in isolation? It would be so much cheaper for tax payers to change the system to a more effective one that actually reduces
The negative physical, mental and sociological effects outweigh the potential positives that solitary confinement may or may not bring. I do agree that solitary confinement is a barbaric practice that has serious social consequences. Many prisoners, 22%, experience psychological and mental problems prior to receiving their convictions (Smith, 2006). The longer one stays in insolation, the worse the effects become. Studies show that solitary confinement is extremely harmful to the mental health of an inmate.
Major Ethical Issues of Solitary Confinement Solitary confinement can affect a person’s physical and mental health simply because it deprives an individual of their need to interact with others on a daily basis. Solitary confinement, which is used to restrain violent and volatile inmates from the general prison population, is done in increments ranging from several months to years. In an article retrieved from the American Psychological Association, ‘Alone, in ‘the Hole’’, the author states that, “for most of the 20th century, prisoners' stays in solitary confinement were relatively short.” This was the standing rule, in which inmates visited what is known as ‘the hole’, for several weeks to months. As time went by, the average length of stay
The United States Government spends a lot of money($75 billion) on locking people up and helping big businesses than helping prisoners. Many prisoners probably spend hours, days, or probably months in solitary confinement. Once they get out of solitary confinement the prisoners behavior changes like they won’t talk to no one and they just rather be by themselves cause they can’t be around big groups of people cause that 's what solitary confinement does to the mind of people. Haney’s research has shown “that many prisoners in supermax units experience extremely high levels of anxiety and other negative emotions.
The criticisms of the supermax prisons are: Deprivation of medical facilities to the inmates as well as the criteria for an accused to inflict which strongly violates the inmates' personal lives. The inmates tend to suffer from mental imbalances as they are being locked away in isolation. According to John (2013), "Solitary confinement as it currently exists in modern supermax prisons is a practice with some serious flaws" (para. 1). Many prisoners that suffer from mental illness are sent to supermax prisons. Therefore, in order to control their insane conduct, they are placed in dark cells, which further deteriorate their mental health conditions.
Imagine being trapped in a damp, dark, cage as a form of punishment for something that seems completely out of your grasp. Prisons were understaffed and as barbaric as it gets the people charged with crimes were whipped. The primary cause for their creation was to keep the crooks from harming any people right? Everyone in solitary confinement is treated the same way but not everyone came for the same reason. In fact, mentally ill people were considered to be harsh maniacs which did not receive treatment for a long time.
The prison system of California has agreed to change the way in which it is decided that an inmate is kept in solitary confinement. This change could decrease the number of solitary confined inmates by more than half. Solitary confinement involves inmates having little to no human interaction for twenty-two hours or more. These hours are spent locked in a cell. In California, the state with the second largest prison population in the nation, the number of inmates currently in solitary confinement is 3,000.