Prisons Rethink Isolation, Saving Money, Lives and Sanity

Article detailing the detrimental effects of the isolation of solitary confinement not only for inmates, but also for prisons as a whole, and evidence demonstrating the importance of groups and social connections that has motivated new approaches to managing prison populations.

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The heat was suffocating, and the inmates locked alone in cells in Unit 32, the state’s super-maximum-security prison, wiped away sweat as they lay on concrete slab beds.

Kept in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours each day, allowed out only in shackles and escorted by guards, they were restless and angry — made more so by the excrement-smeared walls, the insects, the filthy food trays and the mentally ill inmates who screamed in the night, conditions that a judge had already ruled unacceptable. Read more...