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Solitary confinement, colloquially referred to as "the hole" or "the pound" (or in British English "the block"), is a punishment or special form of imprisonment in which a prisoner is denied contact with any other persons, excluding members of prison staff. Usually cited as an additional measure of protection (of society) from the criminal, it has also been called a form of torture. In some cases it is also used to protect the prisoner himself.
While solitary confinement is a feature of some prison systems it also occurs in some families as a punishment. This may be for short periods as a time out punishment but it can also be implemented over periods of years to the detriment of the child.
Usage and criticismEdit
Those who accept the practice consider it necessary for prisoners who are considered dangerous to other people ('the most predatory' prisoners), those who might be capable of leading crime groups even from behind bars, or those who are kept 'incommunicado' for purported reasons of national security. Finally, it may be used for prisoners who are at high risk of being killed by other inmates, such as pedophiles or witnesses who are in prison themselves. This latter form of solitary confinement is sometimes referred to as protective custody.
Opponents of solitary confinement claim that it is a form of cruel and unusual punishment because it has a severe negative impact on a prisoner's mental state that may lead to certain mental illnesses such as depression or an existential crisis.
Effects of solitary confinement on adultsEdit
Effects of solitary confinement on childrenEdit
Extended periods of solitary confinement on developing children can have severe effects upon their physiology, sense of self and ability to communicate and relate to others. Such feral children have been studied to help us understand the effects of severe neglect.
- The Box (form of solitary confinement torture using an overheated room)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Solitary Confinement Torture In The U.S. - Kerness, Bonnie; National Coordinator of the 'National Campaign to Stop Control Unit Prisons', 1998
- ↑ Trend toward solitary confinement worries experts - Tyre, Peg; U.S. News, Friday 09 January 1998
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