18 October 2011
The Negative Effects of Solitary Confinement
Today, there are more than 80,000 prisoners in the United States that are held in solitary confinement. (Solitary Confinement) The two main reasons persons are put into solitary confinement are because of ones conduct in prison, and the severity of ones crimes. They are locked away in an eight by ten cell for twenty three hours a day for years; sometimes decades. They are deprived physical contact with other people; with the exception of when they are moved to shower and exercise. Their meals are given to them through slots. Some hold the opinion that it is the only way to handle the worst prisoners. Others may insist solitary confinement is tantamount to psychological torture. Many inmates complain of physiological and physical effects. There are some medical experts who claim that solitary confinement is physiologically devastating. (Solitary Confinement) Human beings are social creatures. In order to survive, there is a necessity to be able to interact with others. Solitary confinement restricts this vital aspect of life, causing devastating results. The documentary Solitary Confinement, by National Geographic suggests that solitary confinement has extremely negative effects on the prisoners who live through it. Solitary confinement must be removed from the prison system because of the negative psychological and physical effects it has on prisoners. History illustrates that solitary confinement has negative effects on its prisoners. Built in 1829, the first solitary confinement prison was the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. It was inspired by Quaker philosophy: penitence and reform through isolation. The idea was to put people back in touch with their own true self to incite a natural process of self-reformation. They would be in their cell, with a view of the sky, as if to be in touch with God. In its time, Eastern State Penitentiary was the most technologically advanced prison...
Cited: Gawande, Atul. "Hellhole: The United States Holds Tens of Thousands of Inmates in Long Term Solitary Confinement. Is This Torture." Long Term View. 7.2 (2010): 1-18. Web. 18 Oct. 2011. .
Grassian, Stuart. "Solitary Confinement Can Cause Severe Psychiatric Harm." Long Term View. 7.2 (2010): 1-32. Web. 18 Oct. 2011. .
Solitary Confinement. Dir. Peter Yost. Perf. Grassian, Stuart, John Cacioppo, and Martha McClintok. National Geographic, 2010. Film.
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