Change Is Possible: A Case Study Of Solitary Confinement Reform In Maine
Solitary confinement destroys lives. Over the past four decades, prisons across the country have increasingly relied on solitary confinement—isolating prisoners in small poorly-lit cells for 23-24 hours per day—as a disciplinary tool for prisoners who are difficult to manage in the general population. But research has shown that these conditions cause serious mental deterioration and illness. Prisoners in solitary confinement hallucinate, they deliberately injure themselves, and they lose the ability to relate to other human beings. When these prisoners are eventually released from solitary confinement, they have difficulties integrating into the general prison population or (especially when they are released directly onto the streets) into life on the outside.