If You Thought “The Game” Was Terrifying, Consider the “Hole” Where Michael Douglas’ Son is Currently Locked Alone

Celebrity gossip blogs and major papers are reporting that Cameron Douglas, the son of actor Michael Douglas, is currently being held in solitary confinement, also known as the "hole."

Let’s take a second and think about what that means. It means that Cameron, and the 80,000 others subjected to this torturous practice nationwide, will likely be locked alone in a cell for 22-24 hours day. It means that Cameron will be subjected to a form of psychological pressure so intense that it has been shown to dramatically heighten suicide rates. It means that Cameron will likely be fed through a slot in the door.

And, if Cameron is like the tens of thousands of other prisoners struggling in solitary, it means that his chances of rehabilitation will be severely diminished.  Prisoners held in solitary confinement experience negative psychological effects such as depression and hallucinations; some exhibit revenge fantasies and decreased brain function.

The popular myth is that this type of sustained and horrific punishment is somehow merited – that it is necessary to control the most violent offenders or the “worst-of-the-worst.”  So, what did Cameron do? Douglas is serving a ten-year sentence in a federal prison in Pennsylvania for possessing and dealing drugs. And why is he being subjected to the most intense form of punishment on the books, other than the death penalty? He allegedly failed a drug test.

The myth that solitary confinement is ever appropriate needs to be debunked. Given its devastating psychological effects, solitary confinement is clearly not appropriate for Cameron. But Cameron is by no means an exception. Take for example that the majority of prisoners held in isolated confinement are cognitively disabled or have severe mental illness.

The reasons why solitary is never the answer do not end there. Indeed, more and more states are joining a national trend that recognizes solitary confinement as a profound waste of taxpayer money. Take for example the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), which is just the most recent state to close its supermax prison, Tamms, in part because it was the most expensive facility to operate. According to the IDOC, it cost an average of over $64,800 a year – more than three times the state average – to house a prisoner at Tamms.

It’s time for the states that still operate supermax facilities to change their tune; solitary confinement is simply too psychologically harmful and too cost ineffective to be justifiable.

It is not clear how long Cameron will be held in solitary, but we should remember that some prisoners are held in isolation for years at a time. How long will the 80,000 others like Cameron be subjected to this practice? Those held in solitary confinement may experience substantial social isolation, but their suffering and the conditions stemming from it are far from an isolated incident.

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Anonymous

Long-term solitary confinement also affects the eyes because there is usually no access to sunlight. Damian Echols must now wear sunglasses at all times, even indoors, because of the damage his eyes sustained in prolonged solitary.

Paen

I'm glad that the ACLU is informing us about this isue because the media in general only cares when a celebrity is a victim of this.

Anonymous

I was sentenced to three years in prison for possessing 1/3g of crack cocaine. While I was serving my sentence, I spent two weeks in solitary confinement for passing a note to another inmate. My only contact with another human occurred every other day when an officer would escort me to the shower. Unless you've been subjected to this type of torture, and it is torture, you'll never understand it. I still have nightmares even though I was released six years ago. I pray that this type of punishment will be a thing of the past. I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy. Thank you, ACLU.

Anonymous

my husband who has Alzheimers was in solitary for 7 months for his "protection" when he was arrested for what he did defending himself when an attacker came to his home. He was not even allowed out to shower until I got the ACLU to intervene. Since the Men's Central Jail in L.A. had no other means of keeping him safe, I was afraid to press further to get him out of the 'hole'. When they finally let him shower he was so happy , it made me sad. You know what solitary does to someone who's brain functions. Can you imagine what it does to a senior with Alzheimers? It is horrific. He lost the ability to talk during that time because he did not get to talk to anyone.

ADMAX

While serving a sentence for wire fraud, I was erroneously put in Florence's Notorious twisted ADMAX. after their mistake was found, I was transferred to the "hole" at Florence's medium (This was a 2 year bit folks - a first ever offense in wire fraud - no viloence etc) - so while I sat in the hole at ADMAX facility while my paperwork was figured out - my release date came and went - when you are in the hole - all bets are off, and you do not know what will happen. 5 months later, I was released form the hole.

The trip to town to catch a bus was an amazing event, I could not see, the noise of life was nauseating, the people were too much, I did not know how to talk to people and I was angry. But remember, I was a non violent inmate. HOWEVER, the guy 3 cells down from me got out at the same time - he was a straight up killa as we both hit the streets - unable to function due to the deprivation and loss of sensitivity in all areas. I have, for the last 3 years, wondered what ever happened to that cat - or the society around him...... not good I am sure.

Anonymous1

I was incarcerated for driving on a supposed suspended license.The ticket i got was in 1998 and was dismissed by the judge but was never entered into there system due to being a small ton i was told.I was in jail for 15 days and only allowed out of my cell long enough to take a shower and that was maybe once a day if we were lucky.Was in a unit with violent offenders,prostitutes,murderers and we were in our cells 23 1/2 out of the 24 hours in a day.I suffered from depression,anxiety,ptsd before i was arrested and now it has progressed.I feel sick every time i even think of leaving my home,i can't be around more than 1 or 2 people at a time,i have worse nightmares now then i did before from the way i was treated esp by an officer that worked there and nothing was done.Something needs to be done.Thanks

Anonymous

A loved one is incarcerated and is being held in solitary confinement for a period of one and half years, for allegedly spitting on an officer, which he denies ever doing. He has never been a violent person and that would never be in his character, yes he made a mistake an was 19 at that time. But he is already paying with his freedom, there is no need to torture him. Officer lie all the time if they don't like you or you're a minority and there is no record or way to track which officer is writing boguse DR's or how often they write them. This month he was put on strip (which is in a cell without any clothing or linens only in underwear and without any of his property) for a period of three days for nothing other than not being ready for inspection at 5:30 am.(& they don't inform them when they are going to have inspections. This was at Santa Rosa CI, in Florida.

Anonymous

A loved one is being held in solitary confinement for a period of one and half years. He is only allowed to call once every other week. Recently he was held in strip (which is in a cell with only underwear, no clothing or linens and no personal property) for nothing more than not being ready for a surprise inspection at 5:30am. Pure torture. This system needs some serious changes and there needs to be accountability of who is writing DR's and how often and for what reasons.

Anonymous

Weak prisoners families/friends are forced to bring drugs into prison to prevent harm to them. His femur was broken when he failed to get anyone to bring in drugs so that he and family knew the prison gangs meant business.

He needs solitary confinement to protect him from those who prey on him.

Prison is no joke. Conditions never dreamed of exists there.

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