Solitary Confinement Not as Harmful as Depicted

The Catholic Eye

One of the historic arguments for not keeping prisoners for long periods in solitary confinement is that it was detrimental to their mental state, an argument losing some punch as a result of this latest study—hat tip to Crime & Consequences Blog— profiled by Psychiatric News.

An excerpt.

“It has been commonly believed that prolonged solitary confinement in prison is psychologically damaging, especially for inmates who were mentally ill before being assigned to this type of punishment.

“Now a “carefully performed study calls those beliefs into question,” Paul Appelbaum, M.D., the Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, and Law at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a past APA president, told Psychiatric News. “The intuition that many people have that, ‘If they ever put me in solitary, I’d go crazy,’ just doesn’t reflect what actually occurs.”

“The new study was conducted by Jeffrey Metzner, M.D., a clinical…

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