The WSJ’s Jess Bravin reported (sub. req.) that 100,000 prisoners in state and federal prison are being detained in solitary confinement. According to the article, that is about 6% of the U.S. Prison population.
Solitary confinement goes by different names including ‘administrative segregation’ and ‘security housing.’ The article defined solitary confinement as removing a prisoner from the general population for at least 22 hours a day for at least 30 days.
This practice is coming under increasing scrutiny by corrections administrators and the Supreme Court. The practice is problematic because it considered as cruel and damaging to a prisoner’s mental health.
Specifically, Justice Breyer has described the practice as “dehumanizing” and causing a prisoner to suffer from “anxiety, panic, rage, loss of control, paranoia, hallucinations, and self-mutilation.” (Check out clip C-SPAN clip on solitary confinement commentary by Justice Anthony Kennedy.)
The issue of whether to keep death row inmates in solitary confinement until their execution date may be litigated in the Supreme Court soon.
GENARO R. CORTEZ