Solitary Confinement Is The Most Torturous Experience A Human Being
“Basically I lived in a tomb…I lost the will to live sitting in that tomb…you’re dead, you’re just dead.” –Brian Nelson, served 23 years in Solitary Confinement.
Enclosing inmates in isolated cells for extended periods of time with severe restrictions in privileges is a popular disciplinary tactic utilized in the North American prison systems, along with many other countries worldwide. While the utilization of solitary confinement remains prevalent, many individuals intensely oppose the practice. Typical conditions of solitary confinement include: confinement to seventy to eighty square foot cells, isolation for twenty-two and a half to twenty-four hours a day, no access to congregating areas or group activities, no work or in-cell education opportunities, limited family visits with no physical contact, along with high surveillance and control.
The argument for the use of solitary confinement can be outlined by three points. Punitive segregation justifies solitary confinement as necessary disciplinary action imposed for a set, limited period of time.1,2 ‘Vulnerable’ prisoners, such as sex offenders, police informants, and prisoners who may harm themselves or others, may require protective segregation; being placed in isolation for their own protection. The third rational…