Center on Sentencing and Corrections

From Isolation to Independence: A Comparison Study of Juvenile Solitary Confinement Practices in the United States and Germany

From Isolation to Independence: A Comparison Study of Juvenile Solitary Confinement Practices in the United States and Germany

Banks, Claire. “From Isolation to Independence: A Comparison Study of Juvenile Solitary Confinement Practices in the United States and Germany.” Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs 8, no. 2 (2020), 757.

This article provides an overview of best practices concerning the use of segregation for juveniles —or those in the United States under 18 years of age and those in Germany under 21 years of age. The author provides an overview of the rise in the placement of juveniles in high-security prisons—and, consequently, the use of segregation for juveniles. Using Germany as an example of a jurisdiction with more humane correctional practices, the work compares the history and current use of segregation for juveniles in Germany and the United States. It also presents legislation that governs segregation in both countries. Finally, the article highlights the limited reasons for placing juveniles in segregation as well as the potential physical, psychological and developmental harms of these conditions on youth, and poses recommendations for reform.

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Keywords: juveniles, youth, minors, children, German, effects, First Step Act, training, mental health, child development, punishment, management, treatment, United Nations, legislature.