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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 controversial and is a complicated subject to decide on. Some consider the extreme isolation to be torture, others feel it is necessary. Different states and prisons define their conditions differently, but one thing is for certain, the psychological ...view middle of the document...

The idea of Solitary confinement was first created in 1829 by Quakers in Philadelphia. It was the first institution in the United States to punish and rehabilitate criminals and is considered to be the birthplace of the modern prison system.
Quakers had belief in Rehabilitation to be the best way to rid any corruption from a person who has spent too much time in society and developed bad habits. They thought that confining someone and forcing them to spend time alone would break their spirits and turn them to God as an opportunity for forgiveness as the only way to help them. The torturous effects made it more attractive and were used as warehouses of torture. The inmates went insane and came out as better trained killers and criminals. They believed that a broken spirit could theoretically eliminate danger, but the reality is that a broken mind is what creates it.
Prison guards and staff have testified that solitary confinement is necessary to maintain order and protect staff. They feel as if lowering the standards may jeopardize the safety of the prison staff and other prisoners by putting them at risk of violence and disobedience of the prisoners.
Resistance is often a person’s means of maintaining a sense of purpose and control of their own life. Resistance is exactly what prison systems aim to destroy in order to eliminate the prisoner’s need of empowerment. Long term isolation provides a prisoner with discipline and prevents them from causing violence and harm to others. It is true that we must be able to contain and punish the misconduct if we have any hopes of maintaining order in our prison systems.
People argue that inmates that are being held in solitary confinement are already mentally unstable, therefore their psychological disorder was present before being sentenced to solitary confinement, rather than an effect of it.
Whether that is the case or not, Solitary confinement has shown none, if at all any improvement of inmates if they are truly in need of mental rehabilitation. If anything, it has shown to worsen their mental condition.
We put a few prisoners in solitary confinement to stop violence and disobedience, but nothing changes. So we put more and more prisoners in solitary confinement until we have an overwhelming abundance of inmates in isolation, no money, no space, and still nothing changes when trying to correct behavior in the prisons. Through the extensive use of confinement as a use of control, violence is unchanged and costs are more than $50,000 a year per inmate.
So that leaves me wondering. If prolonged isolation is so intensely cruel and ineffective, then how in the world did we end up with worldwide prison systems that encourage such torturous forms of discipline and still continue to subject our own citizens to it? There is no perfect way to deal with dangerous prisoners, but solitary confinement is cruel, and mostly inhumane. we must address our overreliance on solitary confinement.
Let’s observe that a...

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