The Evolution Of Solitary Confinement As Punishment

Solitary confinement
William Anderson
October 31, 2020

Solitary confinement is torture. Across the nation, over 60,000 people are brutally confined in cells the size of elevators for 23 hours a day. The U.S. embraces this horrific punishment, making it far more widespread here than other countries. 

But it wasn’t always this way.

Before solitary confinement was considered torture, it was seen as a humane REFORM!

It made its first appearance at Eastern State Penitentiary, the nation's first modern prison, where it was thought isolation would lead to repentance. That didn’t happen.

People in solitary suffered extreme mental health issues, ended their lives, or were no longer able to function once outside. This “total isolation” terror was largely abandoned over 100 years ago – but it’s made its way back. Today we know how twisted a torture it actually is.

Like prisons themselves, solitary is about punishment, not rehabilitation. Kalief Browder was held in solitary for years despite being wrongfully imprisoned. He tried to end his life multiple times before doing so once he was released. Others have terrifying stories too.

Black Panther Albert Woodfox was held the longest of any prisoner, for 43 years. He was tortured for his politics. No matter what, no one deserves to be tortured and suffer human rights violations. Solitary confinement should have been abolished yesterday!

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