Companionship or Death: The Torture of Solitary Confinement

Great article on Huffington Post re solitary confinement.

From the article: “On any given day in the United States, 80,000 prisoners are held in some form of isolation or solitary confinement. Rather than being a method for holding the worst prisoners, solitary confinement is often the punishment for infractions of prison rules, such as fighting, gang membership or obtaining contraband. Many of the mentally healthy who are placed in isolation develop psychological problems as a result. Inmates engage in self-mutilation, sit catatonic in their own waste, and demonstrate cognitive dysfunction, paranoia and depression. According to testimony presented in June by Dr. Craig Haney, a leading expert on solitary confinement, at the first ever Congressional hearing on solitary confinement, for many prisoners, “solitary confinement precipitates a descent into madness.” As Sen. Dick Durbin, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, which held the hearing, shared in his opening statement to that hearing, 50 percent of prison suicides occur in solitary confinement.”

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