Solitary Confinement Is A Form Of Imprisonment

1178 WordsDec 7, 20165 Pages
Solitary confinement is a form of imprisonment in which an inmate is isolated from any human contact, often with the exception of members of prison staff. Inmates are placed in isolation for many reasons; as punishment, while they are under investigation, as a mechanism for behavior modification, when suspected of gang involvement, or as retribution for political activism (Crabapple Molly). To be in solitary confinement means being behind a solid steel door for 23 to 24 hours out of the day. There are more than 80,000 prisoners in solitary confinement in prisons across the United States, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Prisoners are often confined for months or even years. Some may spend more than 25 years in segregated prison settings (“Solitary confinement facts”) Being confined for such long periods of time tends to take a toll on a person’s mental status. Researchers have found little to suggest that extreme isolation is good for a person’s psyche. In one notorious study from the 1950s, University of Wisconsin psychologist Harry Harlow placed rhesus monkeys inside a custom-designed solitary chamber nicknamed “the pit of despair.” It was Shaped like an inverted pyramid, the chamber had slippery sides that made climbing out impossible. After a day or two, Harlow wrote, “most subjects typically assume a hunched position in a corner of the bottom of the apparatus. One might presume at this point that they find their situation to be hopeless.” Harlow also found
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