Solitary Segregation In Prison

1530 Words7 Pages
There are many different forms of punishment in the prison system; privileges are revoked, a change in cell may take effect, a prisoner may be transferred to a different floor or maybe even a different prison altogether. However, the punishment that is feared the most by prisoners is referred to as solitary confinement, also referred to by inmates as “the hole”, or “the box”. Solitary confinement is the practice of isolating prisoners in closed cells for 22-24 hours a day, free of human contact, for periods of time ranging from days to months. While few prison systems use the term “solitary confinement,” it is instead referred to as “segregation.” (Rodriguez, 2012). Segregation has been around for centuries. It is put in place for prisoners…show more content…
The affects have been detrimental to the mind and as the hours and days prolong, it will only get worse. Researchers have found little to suggest that extreme isolation is good for the mind. In a notorious study from the 1950s, University of Wisconsin psychologist Harry Harlow placed rhesus monkeys inside a custom-designed solitary chamber nicknamed “the pit of despair.” Shaped like an inverted pyramid, the chamber had slippery sides that made climbing out all but impossible. After a day or two, Harlow wrote, “most subjects typically assume a hunched position in a corner of the bottom of the apparatus. One might presume at this point that they find their situation to be hopeless.” Harlow also found that monkeys kept in isolation curled up “profoundly disturbed, given to staring blankly and rocking in place for long periods, circling their cages repetitively, and mutilating themselves.” Most readjusted eventually, but not those that had been caged the longest. “Twelve months of isolation almost obliterated the animals socially,” Harlow found. (Breslow, 2014) In 1951 researchers at McGill University paid a group of male graduate students to stay in small chambers equipped with only a bed for an experiment on sensory deprivation. They could leave the room to use the bathroom, but that was all. They wore goggles and earphones to limit their sense of sight and hearing, and gloves to…show more content…
Many feel that segregation provides high risk prisoners with some protection from the general prison population. There are high risk offenders, such as child molesters and murderers, as well as ex-gang members or dangerous prisoners that can be kept segregated with solitary confinement. Because security protocols are much higher in solitary, it becomes much more difficult to harm someone. Others feel that it allows a prisoner to serve their sentence. Some might say that a death in prison is justice serving itself, but the laws of the US and other developed nations do not support vigilantism which is the act of taking the law into one’s own
Open Document