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Types of solitary confinement Essay

Types of solitary confinement, 503 words essay example

Essay Topic: human rights, mental health, time, isolation

There are two types of solitary confinement that are commonly used today. The first is called disciplinary segregation is a type of punishment for an inmate who broke the rules. For example an inmate who stole another's radio could be in solitary for a week or two. During disciplinary segregation, an inmate is separated from other inmates for a specified period of time. The second type of confinement is known as administrative segregation, which is used when prisoners are thought to be a risk to the safety of other inmates or prison staff. Prisoners in administrative segregation can be placed into isolation units for months or years. Prisons turned to this strategy in response to growing violence inside prisons, although there has been no proof that this has made prisons safer. According the American Psychological Association when deprived of normal human interaction, many segregated prisoners reportedly suffer from mental health problems including anxiety, panic, insomnia, paranoia, aggression and depression.
About 80,000 people are held in solitary confinement in U.S. prisons, according to the latest available census. Solitary confinement was thought to encourage prisoners to reflect on their crimes and reform. We use this practice without a thought on how it affects a person. Solitary confinement is a degrading treatment of a person, causes mental health issues, and makes prisoners more dangerous.
UN bodies including the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture have stated that solitary confinement, particularly that of young people under the age of 18, is cruel, inhumane and degrading. A lot would also argue that solitary is a violation of a person's human rights. Stuart Grassian, a board-certified psychiatrist, spent a lot of time interviewing prisoners that had been in solitary confinement. He found that about a third of solitary inmates were "actively psychotic and/or acutely suicidal." He concluded that solitary confinement causes a specific psychiatric syndrome that includes panic attacks, overt paranoia, diminished impulse controlee hypersensitivity to external stimuli and difficulties with concentration, thinking and memory.
But such extreme isolation and sensory deprivation can take a severe, and sometime permanent toll on emotion and mental health. People for solitary confinement may say that the prisoner would come out stronger, and would have had time to reflect on their life choices, and may even want to become reformed. But people who are put into isolation are vulnerable and are at risk for developing mental health issues a like schizophrenia. Being left alone for long periods of time may lead someone to have hallucinations and delusions, to such a point where they would become paranoid or display symptoms of mental distress. A study by McGill University paid male graduate students to stay in small rooms that only had a bed. Although they could leave to use the bathroom nothing else was provided. They were supposed to be observed for six weeks but no one lasted more than a week. Some of the students suffered from hallucinations and one of the collaborators in the study said that one student could see nothing but dogs.

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