Is Solitary Confinement a Good Idea?
Solitary confinement: some say it is the only way to control the most violent prisoners in this country. But the fact of the matter is that across America in the states that have reduced the use of solitary confinement, the rates of violence have actually declined.
Over 100,000 prisoners in American institutions are committed to years, or even decades, in solitary confinement. Many of these prisoners receive subpar services to address mental health issues that brought them to prison in the first place, and those conditions become substantially worse with time in solitary. Not surprisingly, people of color and trans individuals are disproportionately represented in solitary confinement.
Why it is Harmful
Social isolation is not good for human beings: period. Long periods of coerced idleness for prisoners deprives them of the basic human entanglements and productive undertakings that are necessary for sustaining mental health, pro-social thinking, and healthy relationships. Life skills, such as learning how to mediate differences, how to deal with frustrations, and how to find common ground with others becomes can be decimated when people are stuck in isolation for long periods of time, and are replaced with panic, paranoia, depression, self-mutilation, and an alarming rate of suicide. The mental price inmates pay is often in tandem with exacerbated physical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart issues.
After Solitary Confinement
When prisoners who’ve spent lengthy stays in solitary confinement are released, they are at higher risk of a life of crime and substance use disorders than their peers. They are also at a higher risk of rearrest.
Here in the Silver State, a 2019 study revealed that a higher percentage of the prison population experiences solitary confinement than in other states. Laws ending long-term solitary confinement have been proposed to protect prisoners from the worst situations. SB 307 would require the least possible restriction for as short a time as possible. In other states across the country, prison officials pretend to be bending to the will of the public by agreeing to limit solitary confinement, when they are simply renaming the practice as “special housing.” In some cases, instead of 24 hours in isolation, they are keeping prisoners alone in their cells for 23.5 hours. Instead of providing prisoners with compassionate rehabilitative programming, too many states are simply keeping these prisoners out of sight, out of mind.
Fighting for Defendants
At Lobo Law, our dedicated Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys always fight for the best possible outcomes for our clients. We know that every person is entitled to a rigorous defense, and that is precisely what we provide. To discuss your case, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.