Month: January 2015

Solitary Confinement: Torture by Any Other Name?

In 1842, Charles Dickens wrote that an inmate in solitary confinement “is a man buried alive … dead to everything but torturing anxieties and horrible despair.”

In their Statement for the Record to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Solitary Confinement in June of 2012, the Physicians for Human Rights confirmed that 170 years later, Dickens’ observations still apply. Although the harmful effects of solitary confinement have been well documented since its first use in the early 19th century, isolation has seen a resurgence in popularity since the 1980s. Solitary Watch offers the following estimate on the number of U.S. prisoners currently detained inside cramped, concrete, windowless cells in a state of near-total solitude:

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