Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Restricting the Use of Solitary Confinement

Restricting the Use of Solitary Confinement

Craig Haney. “Restricting the Use of Solitary Confinement.” The Annual Review of Criminology no. 1 (2018): 285- 310.

A robust scientific literature has established the negative psychological effects of solitary confinement. The empirical findings are supported by a theoretical framework that underscores the importance of social contact to psychological as well as physical well-being. In essence, human beings have a basic need to establish and maintain connections to others and the deprivation of opportunities to do so has a range of deleterious consequences. These scientific conclusions, as well as concerns about the high cost and lack of any demonstrated penological purpose that solitary confinement reliably serves, have led to an emerging consensus among correctional as well as professional, mental health, legal, and human rights organizations to drastically limit the practice.

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Keywords: solitary confinement, prison isolation, restrictive housing, segregation, conditions of confinement, segregated housing and mental health