Solitary Confinement Essay

1869 words - 7 pages

Since the early 1800s, the United States has relied on a method of punishment barely known to any other country, solitary confinement (Cole). Despite this method once being thought of as the breakthrough in the prison system, history has proved differently. Solitary confinement was once used in a short period of time to fix a prisoners behavior, but is now used as a long term method that shows to prove absolutely nothing. Spending 22-24 hours a day in a small room containing practically nothing has proved to fix nothing in a person except further insanity. One cannot rid himself of insanity in a room that causes them to go insane. Solitary confinement is a flawed and unnecessary method of punishment that should be prohibited in the prison system.
In the 18th century, the Quakers thought of solitary confinement as a “spiritual renovation” (Griest). According to Stephanie Griest in her Wilson Quarterly Issue:
At the time, convicts were typically hanged, flogged, or tossed into wretchedly overcrowded dungeons. What these prisoners needed, Quakers argued, was a spiritual renovation. Give a man ample time and quiet space to reflect upon his misdeeds, and he will recover his bond with God. He will grieve. He will repent. He will walk away a rehabilitated man.
Solitary confinement was never intended to be a method of punishment. The Quakers were known to have no tolerance with their convicts. Many of them were hung or thrown in pits to die. Their idea of solitary confinement shows their original true intention of this method. Quakers argued that if you “Give a man ample time and quiet space to reflect upon his misdeeds, and he will recover his bond with God. He will repent. He will walk away a rehabilitated man.” (Griest). The idea of one being able to “walk away a rehabilitated man” has been forgotten in the current day prison system.
As the methods of punishment began to change, the prison system evolved. In 1829 the Eastern State Penitentiary was built, a major “breakthrough”. Despite at the time people considering the Eastern State Penitentiary a major breakthrough, thoughts later changed in the years to follow. Under the eighth amendment, cruel and unusual punishment is forbidden, however, that law stopped absolutely nothing. Inside the walls of the Eastern State Penitentiary, every action had a consequence. In the winter, if inmates were to misbehave they would get chained to the wall and have buckets of cold water thrown on them. In the summer they would get chained to a chair for days. It is bad enough most of the people in Eastern State were in solitary confinement, let alone getting strapped to a chair for days. If they continued to misbehave, an iron gag was placed over the mouth of the prisoner (Griest). The prisoners at Eastern State Penitentiary were clearly subject to cruel and unusual punishment. By the time Eastern State closed its doors in 1971, it was widely seen as a failure.
The definition of cruel or unusual punishment...

Find Another Essay On solitary confinement

Solitary Confinement: A Cruel and Unusual Punishment

916 words - 4 pages While solitary confinement is one of the most effective ways of keeping todays prisoners from conflict and communication it is also the most detrimental to their health. According to an article by the reason for most solitary confinement units in America “is to control the prison gangs (NPR, 2011).” Sometimes putting a gang member in solitary confinement reduces the effect that confinement is supposed to have when the confined inmate

Solitary Confinement Is Cruel and Ineffective

1991 words - 8 pages Not too many people know what Solitary confinement is or what it can do to a human being. Solitary confinement is a special form of imprisonment. The prisoner is confined in a small windowless unit completely isolated from any human contact. It is a form of punishment for behavior modification beyond incarceration for a prisoner and is used as an additional measure of protection from the inmate. The issue of solitary confinement is extremely

Solitary Confinement Borders Cruel and Unusual Punishment

1865 words - 8 pages Solitary confinement borders cruel and unusual punishment due to its association to extreme mental illnesses of its prisoners. Studies have shown healthy people obtaining mental illnesses after being confined for a short period of time. For most people this association, as well as its high cost to maintain the use of solitary confinement, is enough to stop the use of this style of incarseration and closing strictly solitary prisons. Others

Outline for speech on the effects of Solitary Confinement

1147 words - 5 pages Title: Effects of Solitary ConfinementSpecific Purpose: My audience will understand more about how loneliness and isolation affect people, especially those people in solitary confinement.Thesis Statement: Being in Solitary confinement has a major mental, emotional, and social impact on people.Introduction:Gaining and maintaining favorable attention: Alone. In a cell. For days. Or decades. Today more then 80,000 Americans are in solitary

Two Wrongs Does Not Make a Right - fresno city - essay

1630 words - 7 pages Abstract Solitary confinement has been around for along time. Although there have been some changes to the system, it has yet to be resolved, but it needs to be. This paper will argue that solitary confinement is not a proper way to punish someone because of the psychological damages that is can cause. More reasons why solitary confinement should end is because it is inhumane, a form of cruel and unusual punishment, and expensive for taxpayers

The American Penal System

1472 words - 6 pages ” outside of this cell. This time can be used to shower, workout or make a phone call, but you are still isolated. You are here locked up for weeks, months, or maybe even years. Throughout this whole time, you are left alone with no meaningful activity; just yourself and your thoughts, which can eventually drive you mad. This is solitary confinement. According to the Washington Post's “The Torture of Solitude,” “The United States holds the highest

"The Bet" by Anton Chekhov: Character Analysis of the Prisoner

595 words - 2 pages Wow! 7,883,995 minutes sure is a long time to spend in solitary confinement, and then not even hang around for the final five minutes to reclaim your prize. The title of this story is "The Bet", and is written by Anton Chekhov. In this story, a man takes part in a bet for two million dollars, under the conditions that he stays in solitary confinement for fifteen years. The man, whom we come to know as "the prisoner", stays in confinement for

Punishment Contradicts Rehabilitation

1950 words - 8 pages How do you punish a person who is already being punished? This is the problem the penal system faces. On the surface solitary confinement seems like the perfect solution. Put into place to protect prison workers and other inmates from being harmed by dangerous and unruly prisoners, the side effects of solitary confinement can often be far worse and destructive to prison rehabilitation than the benefits of such a system. The abuse and overuse

At least You're not a 'Typhoid Mary'

961 words - 4 pages had typhoid in my life, and have always been healthy. Why should I be banished like a leper and compelled to live in solitary confinement with only a dog for a companion” (Mallon, 1)? She was very firm in her belief that she was not a threat to the public, despite previous happenings where she was the only common factor. In 1902, Mary was hired to be a cook over the summer, two weeks into her employment, 7 of the 9 servants living with her in

The way Jonathon Swift addressed the issue of overpopulation in Ireland

1201 words - 5 pages -ed will be regulated by a liaison to prevent too much public interaction with the opposite sex. The liaison will be in charge of making sure that no one comes within 1 meter of a member of the opposite sex and that anyone who appears to be enjoying the company of a member of the opposite sex is immediately removed from the co-ed, public environment and placed in solitary confinement for a minimum of three days.~All functions that are open for

Losing Your Brain...and Your Mind

1581 words - 7 pages isolation have been well documented in prisons that implement solitary confinement. Solitary confinement is the practice of holding prisoners in isolation with little to no human contact. This form of imprisonment is usually used as a punitive measure for prisoners who disobey prison guards and rules. There have been numerous studies performed about solitary confinement in prisons across the world. Inmates who have gone through this form of

Similar Essays

Solitary Confinement Units Essay

1349 words - 6 pages The Pennsylvania system constructed in the early 1800s inspired solitary confinement by using extreme isolation to deter future crime. In the twentieth century, inmates in solitary confinement would stay for short periods. According to Craig, people would stay in secure housing units for a couple of days or weeks (Weir, 54). Nowadays solitary confinement has become very popular. Inmates are being sent to solitary confinement for indefinite

The Effects Of Solitary Confinement Essay

2285 words - 10 pages Solitary confinement is a penal tactic used on inmates who pose a threat to themselves or other inmates. Solitary confinement is type of segregated prison in which prisoners are held in their cell for 22-24 hours every day. If they are allowed to leave their cell, they will silently walk shackled and in between two guards. They can only leave for showers or exercise. Their exercise and shower are always done alone and inside. They can exercise

Psychological Effects Of Solitary Confinement Essay

1041 words - 4 pages What is solitary confinement? By definition, the term "solitary confinement" refers to "a punishment in which a prisoner is denied contact with any other persons." ("Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia") For centuries, people who have wronged society by inflicting suffering of the body have been punished with imprisonment. Today, it is not only used as a form of punishment, but also as a form of rehabilitation in attempts to change a person's mind

Solitary Confinement And The Effects On Inmates

2431 words - 10 pages Solitary Confinement and the Effects on Inmates Solitary confinement is a mandated arrangement set up by courts or prisons which seek to punish inmates by the use of isolated confinement. Specifically, solitary confinement can be defined as confinement in which inmates that are held in a single cell for up to twenty-three hours a day without any contact with the exception of prison staff (Shalev, 2011). There are several other terms which