Solitary Confinement

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Iesha Brown
10/1/12
PSY 111
Solitary Confinement and what it does to Your Mind.

Try picturing this; you are locked in this cell for 23 hours a day. The cell is small about 6 feet by 8 feet. In the cell there is a steel toilet, a sink built in the top. There is also a steel bed with a very thin matress.There is small shelf for some of your personal items, and a desk hanging off the wall without a chair. There is a window that is about 5 inches wide and about 4 feet tall, but you can't see out of it. It's made of fog clouded glass. The window is also covered with steel with little holes. What I'm describing is a cell in a section of a prison called solitary confinement. While prisoners are in solitary confinement they are forced to be in this tiny cell for 23 hours a day. They are only allowed to come out for recreation five times a week for one hour. Their rec in a cage. They are allowed to take three showers a week, and it can only be for five minutes.

Solitary confinement is the confinement of a prisoner in a cell or other place in which he or she is completely isolated from others. In my opinion Solitary confinement is barbaric, and does more harm than it does justice. These criminals are being released back into their neighborhoods after being locked up with no human contact for years.

Solitary confinement has been around since the 19th century and mental instability has been linked to solitary confinement since the 1860s. Prison records from the Denmark institute during 1870-1920 shows that staff noticed inmates were showing signs of mental illness while in isolation, revealing that this persistent problem has been around for decades. Solitary confinement was developed as a humane alternative. In 1970, the Quackers built Walnut Street Jail in Philidelphia with a, “Revolutionary and too many humane purpose". The jail was meant to punish and reform. Walnut Street is known as the "Birthplace of the modern prison system". There are two types of solitary confinement that are commonly used today. One type is called disciplinary segregation. This is when you're in solitary for a week or two for doing something like stealing a cellmate’s radio. Another type of solitary confinement is known as admistrative segregation. This segregation is used when inmates are deemed a risk to the safety of other inmates or even prison staff. When you're in administrative segregation you can be isolated for month’s even years.

In my opinion Solitary Confinement can ruin someone’s mental and their life. Solitary confinement used to be when prisoners would get thrown in the whole, and stay there for a couple of days. Now prisoners are in solitary confinement for years. Just imagine yourself locked in a room with just a bed for years. Would you still be sane? I don't think anyone would come out of that the same person they were before they entered into solitary confinement. Solitary confinement has been recognized as difficult to withstand. Psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture. But ironically U.S prisons have increasingly embraced solitary confinement to punish and control difficult or dangerous prisoners.

The prisoners live with extensive surveillance and security controls, the absence of ordinary social interaction, abnormal environmental stimuli, with sometimes just three to five hours a week of recreation alone in caged enclosure. They only have little, if any educational, vocational, or other activities. Isolation can be psychologically harmful to anybody, and any prisoner. The effects of solitary confinement can have a very strong impact on prisoners that already have a mental disorder. Suicides occur more often in the isolation sections of the jails. Being isolated for a long period of time takes a toll on your mental state. Many prisoners have said they don't know how to interact with other human beings after being in isolation. In 2007, researchers at the...
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