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Today's Domestic Human Rights Issue: Solitary Confinement Follow

#1 Feb 26 2014 at 7:13 AM Rating: Good
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This week the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional, Civil and Human Rights, hoping to reform solitary confinement in federal prisons, is hearing arguments for and against the use of solitary confinement.
TIME wrote:
According to a Government Accountability report from May 2013, the population of solitary confinement increased faster than the general prison population between 2008 and 2013. But since the first hearing on this issue in 2012, the bureau has reportedly decreased the segregated housing population by 25 percent. About 6.5% of the 215,000 federal prison inmates are in some form of restrictive housing.
STORY

Solitary confinement is used to segregate potentially dangerous inmates, troublesome inmates or simply as punishment.

Is solitary confinement torture?

Is it somehow retributory or reformative?

Should it be allowed as is, banned or become more restrictive as to who and when gets thrown in the 'hotbox'?
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#2 Feb 26 2014 at 8:23 AM Rating: Good
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Nothing will change. It isn't torture by any modern standard. Confusing segregated housing with "Cool Hand Luke" style punishment is a mistake. Where that sort of thing exists, it should be reformed. What most modern "solitary" is boils down to the most efficient way to manage the more labor intensive elements of prison populations, be they more violent or just more challenging. If we persist in insisting on incarcerating such a massive percentage of our population (we will, there's money in it) we need this technique for it to 'work'
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#3 Feb 26 2014 at 8:45 AM Rating: Good
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It isn't torture, nor is it reformative.
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#4 Feb 26 2014 at 9:14 AM Rating: Good
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CNN wrote:
This week, New York state agreed to several changes that would limit the use of solitary confinement for disciplining some groups of inmates, including those under 18 or pregnant women. The agreement stemmed from a class-action lawsuit.
(this was actually last week)

Most of the reform being discussed seems to be swirling around those sensitive populations that shouldn't be in confinement - pregnant women and mentally ill.

Not sure how solitary would effect a fetus, but I suppose there's more opportunity and desire for a woman to some how attempt to self-abort when alone.

I wonder if the increased use of solitary confinement is due in part to the privatization of correctional facilities? I'm sure Prison Corp of American gets a premium for a prisoner is isolation.
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#5 Feb 26 2014 at 10:17 AM Rating: Excellent
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Elinda wrote:
Solitary confinement is used to segregate potentially dangerous inmates, troublesome inmates or simply as punishment.
I like the first one, not so much the other two. The guy obsessed with sticking shivs into people's faces doesn't really need to be a part of general population. Given the mental health aspect of the whole thing though, if someone isn't a threat to others or a likely victim, I'm not sure I see the point in it. Then again, I don't run a prison.

If solitary is too awful, you could always take the worst nutjobs and put them cells in pairs. Then stream the surveillance footage, take bets, and fund the prison.
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#6 Feb 26 2014 at 11:45 AM Rating: Good
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I like the first one, not so much the other two. The guy obsessed with sticking shivs into people's faces doesn't really need to be a part of general population. Given the mental health aspect of the whole thing though, if someone isn't a threat to others or a likely victim, I'm not sure I see the point in it. Then again, I don't run a prison.

Prison is where we've decided to house the poor mentally ill. We used to house them in asylums, but that was a bad PR move, so now we just release them without support until they get arrested. Adding a few more because of solitary confinement isn't a big deal. Eggs, omelets, etc.
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#7 Feb 26 2014 at 12:45 PM Rating: Good
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They could at least pad the cells. Make the loonies feel a little more at home. Smiley: blush


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#8 Feb 26 2014 at 12:59 PM Rating: Excellent
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Pipe in some hymns or something as well, maybe try an exorcism?

I mean, if you're going to do it, might as well go all out.
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#9 Feb 26 2014 at 1:30 PM Rating: Good
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Some days solitary confinement sounds more like a reward than a punishment.
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#10 Feb 26 2014 at 1:38 PM Rating: Good
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I'd imagine it varies from person to person.

It might be torture for a teenage girl who is a social butterfly in high school, but not so much for a Buddhist monk, and all things between.

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#11 Feb 26 2014 at 1:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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lolgaxe wrote:
Some days solitary confinement sounds more like a reward than a punishment.

Sometimes I think that. Then I remember that I'm climbing the walls when I spend 20 minutes in an examining room waiting on a doctor to see me.
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#12 Feb 26 2014 at 2:03 PM Rating: Good
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#13 Feb 26 2014 at 2:16 PM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
lolgaxe wrote:
Some days solitary confinement sounds more like a reward than a punishment.

Sometimes I think that. Then I remember that I'm climbing the walls when I spend 20 minutes in an examining room waiting on a doctor to see me.
I'd love to have 20 min to myself in a doctors office. No screaming noises I should attend to, no one climbing on me, no one asking me for anything, or to do anything, no electronic device trying to grab my attention away, no else in the world inside your bubble, trying to squeeze past you, or ask you questions.

Ahhh, a happy place. Smiley: lol
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#14 Feb 26 2014 at 2:36 PM Rating: Good
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Kuwoobie wrote:
I'd imagine it varies from person to person.

It might be torture for a teenage girl who is a social butterfly in high school, but not so much for a Buddhist monk, and all things between.


A Buddhist monk in voluntary solitude is not really the same set-up as a prisoner in a cement cell.

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#15 Feb 26 2014 at 3:35 PM Rating: Good
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Kelvyquayo wrote:
Prisons are the stained underwear of society. The skidmarks won't stop until we change our diets.
Lovely, did you read that on the wall of a bathroom stall?
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#16 Feb 26 2014 at 4:29 PM Rating: Good
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His Excellency Aethien wrote:
Kelvyquayo wrote:
Prisons are the stained underwear of society. The skidmarks won't stop until we change our diets.
Lovely, did you read that on the wall of a bathroom stall?

A prison bathroom wall obviously.
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#17 Feb 27 2014 at 10:58 AM Rating: Excellent
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Kuwoobie wrote:
I'd imagine it varies from person to person.

It might be torture for a teenage girl who is a social butterfly in high school, but not so much for a Buddhist monk, and all things between.




The word "penitentiary" comes from the same root as "penance". The good and godly Quakers of Pennsylvania built the first penitentiary on what is now U.S. soil. Their philosophy was that if they locked miscreants up alone with a Bible and a basic diet of plain food and water, the miscreants would inevitably come around to true repentance.

Unfortunately the felons showed an inconvenient tendency to go insane, instead. It seems prolonged isolation is not conducive to discovering a pious relationship with God, although it's a pretty good way to develop the delusion that you ARE God (not in the transcendental sense, but in the psychotic sense).

Used short-term, there's no harm done. Used long-term, however, solitary can have unintended effects. It might take that monk longer to crack than your teenage girl (although narcissism might inoculate her for a while). Eventually, though, anyone will crack.
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#18 Feb 27 2014 at 12:42 PM Rating: Decent
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#19 Feb 27 2014 at 12:46 PM Rating: Good
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Yodabunny wrote:
The trick is to make up the right voices.

The voice in my head is usually daffy duck.
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#20 Feb 27 2014 at 1:14 PM Rating: Good
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When facing stressful decisions, I always confer to the sage like advice of the Tasmanian Devil. Which is usually "Try eating it."
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