Is Solitary Confinement Torture? (Video)


Veteran journalist James Ridgeway talks about the growing use — and abuse — of solitary confinement in American prisons.

Is Solitary Confinement a Form of Torture?

US News Video by NewsLook


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Photo Credit: Smath via Flickr.


Dominic C.
Dominic C3 years ago

Solitary confinement is not cryogenics. Cryogenics is the freezing the body to a hibernating state and thereby lowering the body temperature to a few degrees about freezing point. The body is not active and therefore no conditioning to any parts of the body. Food and water are not required and waste disposal from the body is controlled. However, the body does aged.
In solitary confinement, as the body adapts to a sedentary lifestyle and the restriction of senses, the body conditions into a mild vegetative state. Sensations become magnified and the person becomes abjectly poor in responses. Delusions do set in and the personality is constantly irritated. Because of these set backs, the person constantly relies on some sort of assurances and dependencies. He or she will be survival on the outside tortuous and fearful. As such, the only relieve is via suicide. And I end my two-cents with the following quote from Anthony Burgess, "A Clockwork Orange."

“Where do I come into all of this? Am I just some animal or dog?' And that started them off govoreeting real loud and throwing slovos at me. So I creeched louder still, creeching: 'Am I just to be like a clockwork orange?”

becka w.
becka w3 years ago

MY opinion TORTURE.I think it should be used to teach and rehabilitate people not the victim of the crime as such isolation is inflicted on survivors of un rehabiliated people who get out of jail and placed in the face of the victim to repeat repeat offender.

Dominic C.
Dominic C3 years ago

When a serial criminal commits a serious crime, society does not necessarily just expects to just put him behind bars. They want more than what is expected and solitary confinement to a certain extent fits the bill. However, the problem here is that solitary confinement is abused and there is no regulation or control on how and why its to be used. Many times it becomes a tool for torture rather than to correct an inmate's waywardness. Doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, psychologists, etc. need to come up with a formula or gauge to how to properly engage wayward behavior and serial criminals who commit serial crimes. Caging per se with no control and purpose is wrong and has dire consequences.

Abbe A.
Abbe A3 years ago

I dispute the comment made about mid east prisons. They don't keep people in prison for many of the same crimes we do. They just lop off the head of the offender on the Friday following the conviction and the offender doesn't have to worry about being in prison. Perhaps we would have a lot less trouble here if we just executed people for hineous crimes immediately rather than lock them up at all.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

How do we keep dangerous people away from others (even other violent people?)? Solitary confinement is awful for long periods, but in smaller doses it's something like time out. I'd prefer solitary to being around crazy, violent or sexually explicit criminals. Just give me books and a padded room

Karl Murphy
Karl Murphy4 years ago

I think solitary is serious punishment, I couldn't imagine being held like that for an extended period of time. I have spent only 5 hours in solitary and I lost my mind, I cannot imagine what years or even months would be like.

With that said, depending on where you are locked up, I'd rather be in solitary than general population.

Stanley Rampersad
Stanley Balgobin4 years ago

Solitary Confinement embodies sensory deprivation. This constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, albeit torture. Water boarding is also a form of torture. The US government tortures more detainees than all other Nations added together. The USA should be removed from the UN and all members with investments in the nuclear and weapons Industry should be expelled.

Robert Pavlick
Robert Pavlick4 years ago

Marc also says: "Other countries with FAR higher success rates regarding recidivism do not treat their inmates anywhere near this cruelly. "

Name one and site examples. From what I hear, prisons overseas are far worse, you just never hear about it. Try getting caught with drugs in Turkey or the Middle East. You will never see the light of day and will be repeatedly sodomized and abused and will have no recourse to anyone. Tell me which countries in Europe have these "Club Med Prisons". There may be some low security prisons where conditions are better and we have those here too. But when you are dealing with violent criminals and sociopaths, there aren't very many options.

Robert Pavlick
Robert Pavlick4 years ago

Marc says: "Robert P: You obviously know little about prison life."

That is true, but that's because I don't want to find out first hand and have done all within my power to stay out of prison. And thus far I have been successful.

But let me ask you this, Marc: If a prisoner is out of control and attacking other prisoners, or if a prisoner is so hated that the rest of the inmates will kill him, then what do YOU suggest we do with him?????? In the first scenario, how do we keep him from assaulting or killing other inmates or guards without segregating him? And in the second case, how do we keep him from being murdered without segregating him?

How do we restrain this prisoner when all the bleeding hearts are saying: "Prison cells are too small", "prison cells don't provide any privacy","handcuffs are painful", "restraint of any kind is uncomfortable and cruel". What do you suggest that we do with these people other than put them all on an island in some penal colony and LET THEM KILL EACH OTHER? What is your suggestion?????

marc page
Marc P4 years ago

(Continued.) I could go on and on. You say "Kynthia, I am sorry that you endured what you did, but that was the fault of the stupid Judge. They should never have put you in jail at all for such a petty crime and they should have known that doing so would endanger your life." Kynthia's story is unfortunately far more common than you would think - Though EVEN ONE instance of this abuse is completely unacceptable. - Judges and jailers make mistakes like this far too often. And in many cases the 'mistake' is no mistake at all. The bottom line is that more than 90% of inmates will eventually be released. What kind of a world view do you think they will have after being treated this way? Other countries with FAR higher success rates regarding recidivism do not treat their inmates anywhere near this cruelly. Why? These countries apparently have something that we seem to have lost - ETHICS, MORALS, COMMON DECENCY. It saddens me deeply to see so many people advocating cruelty.