Do Away With Solitary Confinement in Prisons

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Sending prison inmates to Solitary Confinement, Administrative Segregation, or Special Housing Units (the SHU), does more damage to the individual and to society as a whole than if they weren't placed there. Placing inmates in segregated cells where they are isolated for twenty three hours of the day does not rehabilitate them, or correct behaviors that warranted the punishment in the first place. Instead, it exacerbates existing mental illness, deprives the individuals of sensory stimulation which can lead to mental health symptoms, and leaves them worse off than when they arrived.

Ninety percent of inmates who have been placed in segregation or confinement will eventually be released from prison. If they are not provided with mental health treatment, or interventions to address their maladaptive behaviors, society will be in more danger because of the psychological harm that solitary confinement causes. Most inmates who have been in solitary confinement present with symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; longer durations were directly correlated to more frequent and severe symptoms.

A lot of research has been done to explore the impact and effectiveness of using solitary confinement, and the data overwhelmingly supports that it is detrimental to an individual's mental and physical health. Solitary confinement is utilized in prisons as a punishment for violating rules, or for individual's who are deemed a safety risk in general population; many that can spend years in segregation. We need to find more effective interventions. We need to increase mental health services in prisons and find other options instead of sending inmates to solitary confinement, not only for the person's sake, but for a safer society.

Solitary confinement is a violation of human rights. Please sign this petition and reach out to your state legislatures and tell them to stop sending prisoners to solitary confinement.

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