We Can Stop Solitary

Stop Solitary Confinement
Across the country, states are waking up to the fact that we must address our overreliance on solitary confinement. Long-term isolation costs too much, does nothing to rehabilitate prisoners, and exacerbates mental illness - or even causes it in prisoners who were healthy when they entered solitary. Officials in some states that formerly relied heavily on solitary confinement are now realizing that they should use public resources on proven policies that promote safe communities and fair treatment, and are successfully reducing the use of solitary - at the same time saving their states millions and reducing violence in the prisons. It's time for more states, and the federal Bureau of Prisons, to follow suit.
Stop Solitary: Stories

Stories from Solitary

These are the real stories of real people who have been affected by solitary confinement. We hope that exposing the often-hidden realities of solitary to public view will encourage questions and increased opposition to it. See all stories »

Solitary is not the Solution

The use of solitary confinement in U.S. correctional facilities has surged over the last three decades despite overwhelming evidence that it is harmful to human beings, often unconstitutional, costly for taxpayers, and counterproductive for public safety. This briefing paper provides an overview of the excessive use of solitary confinement in the U.S. and strategies for safely restricting its use. Learn more »

Growing up Locked Down

Growing Up Locked DownEvery day, in jails and prisons across the United States, young people under the age of 18 are held in solitary confinement. A new report from the ACLU and Human Rights Watch is based on interviews and correspondence with more than 125 young people who spent time in solitary confinement while under age 18 as well as with jail and/or prison officials in 10 states.  Learn More »

Alone and Afraid

For children, who are still developing and more vulnerable to irreparable harm, the risks of solitary confinement are magnified – particularly for kids with disabilities or histories of trauma and abuse. While isolated, children are regularly deprived of the services, programming, and other tools that they need for healthy growth, education, and development. Alone and Afraid: Children Held in Solitary Confinement and Isolation in Juvenile Detention and Correctional Facilities makes the case that we should be helping kids to grow into productive and healthy adults, not harming them, and provides some solutions to the problem of juvenile solitary confinement. Read the report »

Worse Than Second-Class

More than 200,000 women are locked in jails and prisons in the United States. These prisoners are routinely subjected to solitary confinement, spending at least 22 hours a day without human interaction for days, weeks, or months at a time. This briefing paper highlights the unique harms and dangers of subjecting women prisoners to solitary confinement and makes the case for needed reforms to address these unique harms. Read the report »

Change is Possible

A seven-year effort in Maine has successfully culminated in the state reducing the population of its solitary confinement Special Management Unit (SMU) by over 70 percent, as documented in this report from the ACLU of Maine, Change Is Possible: A Case Study Of Solitary Confinement Reform In Maine. Maine's success serves as a useful case study of what is possible and as a model for achieving significant change across the nation. Read the Report »

Resources for Advocates

The ACLU, scholars, activists, mental health experts, and faith-based organizations around the country are working to reform the use of long-term solitary confinement. Learn more about solitary and get the tools to help us make change. Resources for Advocates »

The Truth About Solitary Confinement

As we speak, thousands of people are locked in solitary confinement for days, weeks and even years in jails and prisons across the U.S. Yet solitary confinement is fundamentally inhumane and actually jeopardizes our public safety. We must insist on humane and more cost-effective methods of punishment and prison management. Learn more and share! Learn more »

No Child Left Alone: Advocacy Toolkit

Solitary can cause extreme psychological, physical, and developmental harm. For children, who are still developing and more vulnerable to irreparable harm, the risks of solitary are magnified – particularly for kids with disabilities or histories of trauma and abuse. This toolkit provides comprehensive resources to end the solitary confinement of kids in adult facilities. Resources for advocates »

Alone and Afraid: Advocacy Toolkit

The solitary confinement of children is child abuse, plain and simple. This toolkit provides advocates with comprehensive resources to end the solitary confinement of kids in juvenile detention and correctional facilities. Resources for advocates »

Solitary Confinement News and Information

Solitary confinement blog postsRead the most recent blog posts on solitary confinement. View more »


Stop the Abuse of Solitary!

Take Action!Longterm solitary confinement does not rehabilitate, reduce crime or make our communities safer. Yet across the country tens of thousands of people, including children and the mentally ill, are held in in isolation – sometimes for years on end. Take action today - sign our statement to show that you stand against the misuse of solitary confinement »
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