Solitary Isolation In Prisons On The Prison System

Good Essays
Starting off as just an experiment, solitary confinement soon started being used throughout prison systems everywhere and eventually led to the expansion of research on how it affects the brain and natural human behavior patterns (Public). The living conditions and periods of time in which inmates are put into isolation have been proven to cause physical and pathological damage during and after they are released from their sentence. Isolation in prisons has become a widespread controversy talked about by many people including President Obama at the NAACP convention who made remarks similar to those of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who stated that “solitary confinement literally drives men mad” (Lueders). Solitary confinement…show more content…
prison complex, which shared ideas of the individualistic philosophy that came along with the expansion (Pathological). This form of punishment is still used today to keep violent inmates away from the general population, protect inmates who are believed to be at risk, and punish individuals who violate prison rules. Soon after these facilities were established physicians began researching the effects of solitary confinement on the human brain and reported a pattern of symptoms that they later labeled as prison psychosis, which is caused by prolonged exposure to isolation lacking natural light, proper ventilation, and human contact (Public). Unfortunately, some inmates who are exposed to solitary become so damaged that they become a threat to correctional officers and other inmates when they are released back into the general prison population. Furthermore, psychiatrists, activists, and some correctional officers have stated that the intense isolation of solitary is producing inmates who are uncontrollable and sometimes violently deranged (Abramsky). The living conditions of solitary confinement, or secure housing units (SHU) are…show more content…
Not only does the United States incarcerate more people, but it also exposes more individuals to solitary confinement than any other nation. It is estimated that about 84,000 of those people are exposed to the harsh conditions of solitary in U.S. prison systems (Public). After a short period of time in segregation a person will start to disintegrate mentally and emotionally (Jeffreys). Over the past 150 years of research it has been concluded that any more than ten to fifteen days of segregation results in a distinct set of symptoms including emotional, cognitive, and social issues, causing “harmful psychological effects that can become irreversible” (Public and Lueders). A study done in 2013 gathered information from eighteen states and found that 3,100 inmates had been held in segregation for one or more years, including 200 inmates held in segregation for more than ten years (Lueders). Sadly, those who develop symptoms of agitation, paranoia, and outbursts of violence have an increased chance of becoming permanently damaged even after they are released from solitary (Jeffreys). Inmates held in solitary for long periods of time without any human interaction may begin to develop distorted personal boundaries, which make it almost impossible to have normal human interactions once they are released, becoming incapable of self-management.
Get Access