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June 14, 2010

"States start reducing solitary confinement to help budgets"

The title of this post is the headline of this notable new piece from USA Today. Here are some of the details:

State prison officials are reducing the number of offenders in solitary confinement — once among the fastest-growing conditions of detention — as budget pressures, legal challenges and concerns about the punishment's effectiveness mount.

States such as Mississippi, Texas and Illinois have decreased the number of inmates in solitary confinement, a dramatic acknowledgement, analysts say, that states can no longer sustain the costs of hard-line criminal justice policies.  "The whole philosophy of being just tough — locking people up and throwing away the key — has not solved the problem," said Texas state Sen. John Whitmire, Democratic chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

Decisions to return dangerous inmates to the general prison population anger some prison officials, who say the changes could threaten the safety of corrections officers and other inmates.  "The departments of correction are rolling the dice with public safety. ... This is going to blow up," said Brian Dawe of the American Correctional Officer Intelligence Network, an association of officers.

The number of prisoners in solitary confinement — typically locked away for 23 hours a day — grew 40% from 1995 to 2000 when there were 80,870 segregated inmates, a study by The Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons found.  The overall prison population increased 28% during that time.  Isolating prisoners, the private study found, is often "twice as costly."

June 14, 2010 at 09:41 PM | Permalink

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Comments

This the enlargement of the death penalty for prisoners, guards, and visitors. Hundreds are killed each year by criminals granted absolute immunity by the lawyer. The families of future victims should bring street justice to those responsible. 7akter

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 14, 2010 10:29:21 PM

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