Why Is Solitary Confinement Ethically Wrong

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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 …show more content…

Owing to the fact that these inmates are considered to be a danger to the prison population, their ability to participate in certain activities inmates are allowed, the privilege of these activities are taken away and inmates are isolated as punishment. Whenever a person is isolated form social settings and human interactions they often develop social disorders and mental illnesses. “When anyone, mentally ill or not, does not have enough social contact, it affects them mentally and even physically. Loneliness creates stress, taking a toll on health. Other things affected can be the ability to learn and memory function. These factors can be the trigger of hypersensitivity to external stimuli, hallucinations, panic attacks, cognitive deficits, obsessive thinking, paranoia depression and alcoholism. Loneliness can make you worse. Loneliness and loss of self-worth lead many mentally ill to believe that they are useless, and so they live with a sense of hopelessness and low self-esteem.” (Stobbe, 2006) These factors can be seen in inmates who have been sent to ‘the hole’ for a long period of time. Ethically, individuals deserve the right to have some form of communication with others, whether it may be for short or long periods of time. This should not only be a privilege to those who are deemed as criminals by society. Along with not being able to communicate with the outside world, many inmates are prohibited from having a television, radio, art supplies, and also books. These minimal supplies are a small piece of the outside world and these segregated inmates often have to face several months to years without the benefit of them. Concerns about an individual’s Eighth Amendment right

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