I recently wrote about the “cruel and unusual” punishment of putting young offenders in solitary confinement, forcing them to live in an environment of complete isolation in some cases for months at a time. The reasons for their isolation are myriad: to maintain what corrections calls “safety and security;” to separate the mentally ill especially if they appear to be disruptive to general population; to “teach them a lesson” (adolescents especially in prison can be oppositional and rebellious); to separate “troublemakers” who raise issues that perhaps challenge the prison culture. Whatever the reason, the effects are negative and far-reaching.
Solitary Watch a wonderful and tenacious watchdog of the murky world of solitary confinement, recently posted an article that shows the devastating damage that solitary isolation has on young minds. What consistently comes to my mind is that the damage we do to the young will only come back to hurt society since a damaged young offender will inevitably grow up to be an even more damaged and potentially dangerous adult.
I urge you to check out the article.