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Solitary Confinement should be banned from Prison Systems Solitary Confinement is a ruthless punishment used in many prison systems

today in order to teach corrupt prisoners a lesson about whatever crime they have committed. This punishment not only takes place in an eight-by-ten foot cell, but it also forces the prisoners to spend twenty-three hours in this cell with no leniency what-so-ever (Yost 1). Over eight thousand people are locked up in this form of captivity a year which is an outstanding number of persons being cut from society completely for sentences that could last up to decades in this hellhole. State and Federal prison systems need to ban severe Solitary Confinement due to the effects that it has on a criminals physical and mental health, mental stability, and actions after being released. I minor in criminal justice simply because I am very interested in the laws and studies about crimes in the United States. My focus for this project is primarily on Solitary Confinement specifically because I have people very close to my heart who have had to go through this torture. These people have told me stories that have completely changed my view on prison systems all around the world. I am in awe by how inmates are treated in confinement, and I feel that it should be illegal to punish a human being to this extreme. This is such an interesting subject to study and research, which is ultimately why I wanted to write about it in order to spread the word about this horrible imprisonment. Solitary Confinement was first established during 1829 in the Eastern State Philadelphia Penitentiary (Taylor 1). Prison officials seemed to believe that this disciplinary action was effective; therefore, they added this form of imprisonment to

three hundred other prison systems around the United States. Before long, jailbirds became angry, causing violent, unresponsive behavior later leading to destruction to their physical heath (Burney 1). This penalty caused inmates to kill themselves with whatever they could get their hands on, no matter the drastic measures. Prisoners were breaking the glass toilets and sinks in order to create a weapon that they could use to commit suicide. Also, I was told a story by the dean of the Columbia State Penitentiary about a woman who used the bolts of her steel bed to puncture into her skin all over her body in hopes of going to the hospital. Inmates go to the extremes of hanging, gutting, and bashing just to get out of the cruel lives that they are living. Solitary confinement affects not only the physical health of a prisoner, but the mental health as well. The number one emotional state prisoners fall into while in confinement is depression. One fourth of the jailbirds at the Colorado State Penitentiary were diagnosed with serious mental illnesses (Yost 1). Imagine being in a room as big as your master bathroom at home. Imagine that there is a steel sink and toilet with a mirror not even made of glass. There is a small bed with one pillow, and very few blankets. The desk is nothing but a tiny, foot wide shelf coming from the wall. Lastly, when you look up there is a window as big as your head with bars on it. Imagine that you are locked in this room every day for twenty three hours. In this room you have no telephone, no computer, no television You are left with absolutely nothing (Webb). This form of isolation causes agony to the brain which makes depression completely normal for these people. United States senator John McCain exclaimed, It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment (Taylor 1). My uncle recently wrote to me and I thought it would be

appropriate to share his words with you. "Dear Lexi, How are you doing my darling niece? I am sorry about

not being able to talk with you over the past three months, but I I've been on lockup and because I didn't have any money, I was unable to buy stamps. terrible! day. rare. That place is

We were allowed out for one hour ever other

Some COs let us out for two hours, but that was I lost about twenty pounds because I don't eat red I hate soy. Out of

meat and the substitute is always soy.

all the holes in the federal system, Atlanta's hole is the worst. I know you may not know exactly what the hole is, but it's segregation or what some people call solitary confinement. We call it the hole, but staff calls it It's special all right. What kills me is

Special Housing.

to hear these so-called tough guys crying and kicking on the door every time the CO comes by. correctional officers COs. We call the

The one good thing I could say I would wake up

is that I've finished my book while there.

at 5:00 A.M. and do 500 pushups, 500 sit-ups, and 200 body squats each morning. Breakfast comes around about 6:30 AM,

and by that time, I'm done and ready to start on my


I would write until lunch, if we are not call out to On shower day, you may come out in the morning or If we come out, I usually run to


afternoon; they rotate.

the shower first before picking up some clean clothes. Because I don't have any money, I had to stand in Money is everything! When

line with the other inmates.

you have money, you can get the run-around to do everything if you have some funds. Run-arounds are inmates who have They are the ones

the privilege of coming out of the cell. who serve us chow. PM.

I usually write until about 10:00 They

That's the late count, but not the last count.

count 5:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 4:00 PM, 10:00 PM, 12:00 PM, and 3:00 AM. that? That's a lot of counts, right? Can you believe

I usually have the CO cut my light off when he or

she comes around at 10:00 P.M. because they may not come back until 12:00 A.M. The lights are outside the cell.

Tell your mother she's going to have to send me some money because I lost all my property. bought me, someone stole them. Those boots she

You see, if they lock you They

up, you may not be able to pack out your property.

usually call you up to the OIC office and before you know it, you're in handcuffs. That's what happened to me, and

the worse part is, they just had me under investigation for three months for nothing. I lost my room, and now I'm in a

three-man cell.

The three-man cells are the ones you get One

when you first arrive here, and they are too crowded.

of my roommates just came off the street, and he's always crying about his wife. I think she's going to leave him. They found a

Guess what baby? The camp is on lockup.

lot of contraband--phones, liquor, cigarettes, etc., and they are punishing everyone here for what a few people did. This institution believes in MASS PUNISHMENT. I'm

trying to gain my weight back because we live in units without COs, so I don't like being out of shape or too small. Prison is about being able to take care of yourself

and sometimes it comes down to size, so size does matter. As a matter of fact, I was in a fight when I was

in segregation, and they put me in the segregation hole, which is different than what most people call the hole. Special Housing everyone has a bed and a toilet-sink, but in the hole-hole, which is when you mess up in Special Housing, they have a room far worst than solitary confinement, and this hole has no toilet, just a hole in the floor, and you sleep on the floor. Because people who In

go to Special Housing may be there for months, they are given rooms with beds and the toilet-sink combination. would be inhumane to keep a person in the hole-hole for that length of time. I was there for three days, which is It

not bad, but I was very happy to leave. `Well, my darling Lexi, write me soon, and remember I love you. Love you more, Uncle Ty (Webb) In addition, the mental stability of an inmate that is currently in Solitary Confinement, or has ever been, is most likely much worse than it was before being captivated. Physiatrists say that Solitary Confinement can be physiologically devastating (qtd. In Yost). Their minds begin to go insane after long or even short-term isolation as a result of their boredom and seclusion. In addition, prisoners memories begin to slowly worsen after being taken out of a more promising environment. For example, a researcher asked several inmates to list as many animals as they could in only thirty seconds. A task like this is simple to a person adapted to the real world, unlike someone locked in Solitary Confinement. Or the researcher would ask them to basically memorize several objects and later they were asked what the items were and that quickly, they forgot. Many of the inmates are given medications for their sicknesses and insanity in order to keep them sane and to hopefully avoid suicides (Rhodes 1). All things considered, State and Federal prison systems need to ban severe Solitary Confinement due to the effects that it has on a criminals physical and mental health, mental stability, and actions after being released. Not only is this form of captivity something that everyone needs to be aware of, but it is also something that more people should work to put an end to. No one wants to be imprisoned for years, or even life, without any entertainment, communication, or freedom.

Works Cited: Burney, Christopher Solitary Confinement. NY: Macmillan, 1984. (1952) Print. Rhodes, Lorna A. Total Confinement: Madness and Reason in the Maximum Security Prison. University of California Press; 2004. Print.\ Yost, Peter. "Solitary Confinement: Tough Justice." National Geographic Channel. National Geographic Explorer, Season 24, Episode 15 Taylor, Troy. "Eastern State Penitentiary."Solitary Confinement History. The Learning Channel, 2003. Web. 2 Mar 2011. <http://www.prairieghosts.com/eastern.html>. Webb, Tyrone, Personal interview. 30 September 2013.