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May 12, 2015

"Solitary Confinement: Common Misconceptions and Emerging Safe Alternatives"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new report released today from the Vera Institute of Justice. Here is how the report is described on this Vera webpage:

Segregated housing, commonly known as solitary confinement, is increasingly being recognized in the United States as a human rights issue.  While the precise number of people held in segregated housing on any given day is not known with any certainty, estimates run to more than 80,000 in state and federal prisons — which is surely an undercount as these do not include people held in solitary confinement in jails, military facilities, immigration detention centers, or juvenile justice facilities.  Evidence mounts that the practice produces many unwanted and harmful outcomes — for the mental and physical health of those placed in isolation, for the public safety of the communities to which most will return, and for the corrections budgets of jurisdictions that rely on it for facility safety.

Yet solitary confinement remains a mainstay of prison management and control in the U.S. largely because many policymakers, corrections officials, and members of the general public still subscribe to some or all of the common misconceptions and misguided justifications addressed in this report.  This publication is the first in a series on solitary confinement, its use and misuse, and ways to safely reduce it in our nation’s correctional facilities made possible in part by the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust.

May 12, 2015 at 03:31 PM | Permalink


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This propaganda will not go away.

Here is a well designed rebuttal that explains all findings, as opposed to the ipse dixits of these pro-criminal rent seekers. .



The results of this study were inconsistent with the hypothesis that inmates, with or without mental illness, experience significant psychological decline in AS. Intercept comparisons showed that baseline differences were largely related to mental health status. Segregated inmates with mental illness displayed more symptoms than did inmates without mental illness. Mentally ill inmates in segregation were fairly similar to their comparison groups, but, from the beginning of the study, non-mentally ill segregated inmates had more symptoms than their GP comparison group had. It should be noted, however, that all offenders, regardless of their mental health status, reported symptoms that were significantly elevated over normative community samples. Although the initial values showed group differences, the change function indicated significant change in psychological symptoms over time with early fast improvements slowing to stability. In contrast to the hypotheses, this pattern of change was similar in all five study groups."

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 12, 2015 4:59:36 PM

There were no alternatives provided in the section on Alternatives.

The lack of enhanced safety in the prison is easy to understand. The test is whether there are fewer assaults while the prisoner is in Solitary Confinement. You cannot say, a miracle drug like insulin does not work when not used. It treats a chronic condition. So safety should be measured by counting the assaults of prisoners in solitary confinement, not the number of assaults after release back into the general population.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 12, 2015 10:37:54 PM

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