History of solitary confinement in the US.
The first use of solitary confinement in the US was in 1829, at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Someone is normally put into S.C. when they continually break prison rules, are a direct threat to staff and other inmates, a direct threat to their own health, or are targeted by the prison population due to the nature of their crime. The inmate can spend from 22 to 24 hours a day in their cell, never seeing anyone other than the prison guards, and that contact is minimal. As you can imagine this has led to some issues, both in the mental health of the inmates and the legality of the practice.
Many studies have been done into the effects of S.C. on a person. These effects can be one or more of the following:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- suicidal tendency’s
- increased rage
The list goes on and on. It doesn’t take a doctor to see how taking a criminal and adding these things into the mix could be extremely dangerous, for the inmate and the public. Imagine taking someone who was arrested for assault, locking him up for a few months in S.C. and then releasing him back into the public. When you combine a person who has some issues (with what is essentially torture), then you will obviously end worse than you began. Which takes us to our next point.
Torture by definition.
According to the U.N. (part 1, Article 1) the act of torture can easily describe the type of issue someone in solitary confinement could face on a daily basis. Some people will have a hard time associating the word torture with inmates, who have committed a crime. The thing you need to keep in mind is if you are for human rights, then those rights apply to all humans. They apply to you, teachers, drug dealers, cops, pedophiles, and farmers. Torture is wrong, no matter what lens you view it through.
It can be hard, but i attempt to place myself in everyone’s shoes when i write something like this here or somewhere else. One turn down a one way street, one look down while driving, one bad decision and most anyone could end up in jail. One accident at work and you could be without a job, and in need of quick cash. You could find yourself sitting in a holding cell awaiting intake into a facility where you could end up in S.C. ,for something another inmate does. I feel that S.C. is a crime against basic human rights, I believe its torture. But even if you don’t feel the same way I do while sitting in your warm room pecking reading this, think about how you would feel sitting in that cell wondering if you might be in S.C. before the week is through.
If you would like a longer read, with more facts and numbers please check out the link to Solitary Watch below.
Now you know