Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Solitary Confinement of Juvenile Offenders

Solitary Confinement of Juvenile Offenders

Juvenile Justice Reform Committee, “Solitary Confinement for Juvenile Offenders,” American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, April 2012,

“Solitary confinement is defined as the placement of an incarcerated individual in a locked room or cell with minimal or no contact with people other than staff of the correctional facility. It is used as a form of discipline or punishment. The potential psychiatric consequences of prolonged solitary confinement are well recognized and include depression, anxiety and psychosis1. Due to their developmental vulnerability, juvenile offenders are at particular risk of such adverse reactions2. Furthermore, the majority of suicides in juvenile correctional facilities occur when the individual is isolated or in solitary confinement.”

“The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry concurs with the UN position and opposes the use of solitary confinement in correctional facilities for juveniles. In addition, any youth that is confined for more than 24 hours must be evaluated by a mental health professional, such as a child and adolescent psychiatrist when one is available.”

Click here to view the policy statement.

Keywords: AACAP