Effects Of Solitary Confinement On Humans

Solitary confinement is a form of punishment found in the United States federal prisons system as well as many other systems around the world. It is also found in many state run facilities within the U.S. The incarceration of people as a form of punishment and rehabilitation has been the subject of intense debate for as long as anyone can remember. Solitary confinement adds a whole other dimension to the argument.

The effects of solitary confinement are not fully understood but early indications are that it is not good for the human mind. Prolonged periods of isolation from other people can have long lasting and detrimental impacts on the human brain.

What is Solitary Confinement?

This form of punishment is where a prisoner or inmate is restricted access to human contact for 23 hours per day with the exception of contact from prison staff. In some cases the amount of hours each day may be lower at 22.

In the hours the prisoner is not in their cell, they are allowed time for recreation in a larger enclosed room away from other prisoners. They are also allowed time for showering 1-2 times per week.

Why Do People Go To Solitary Confinement?

There are a few different reasons people are placed in solitary confinement. In rare cases, prisoners may start a prison sentence in solitary confinement. Most of the time however, this status is assigned based on prisoners violating prison rules, if they are a danger to themselves or others, or if they are considered a member of a vulnerable class of inmates.

Vulnerable inmates include people who were once a part of gangs and have left and/or provided information to authorities about the gang, people convicted of certain crimes considered taboo by other prisoners, or for violating other guidelines.

What are the Effects of Solitary Confinement?

Many studies have been performed on the prison system’s ability to reform inmates. Studies done on the sub-category of prisoners in solitary confinement or administrative segregation show that the stresses of such confinement are brutal on the human psyche.

People subjected to long periods of solitary confinement often experience severe anxiety issues, depression, suicidal tendencies, and other mental health issues. These symptoms are exacerbated in prisoners who already exhibited mental health defects or impaired mental capabilities before the period of solitary confinement began.

As a form of punishment, solitary confinement is effective however as a form of rehabilitation, the practice is extremely inhuman and some would say barbaric.


Is Solitary Confinement One Of The Best Alternatives for Reform Measures?

Solitary confinement is a kind of imprisonment wherein an inmate/prisoner is isolated from human contacts for 22 to 24 hours every day. Only the prison staff is allowed to contact the inmate for a couple of hours. It is usually employed as a type of punishment to inmates for violating prison regulations. While some experts argue that solitary confinement can be dangerous to prisoners, others (who support strict usual prison alternatives and reform measures) assert that such a punishment is just and fair not only for the betterment of other prisoners, but for the prisoner himself.

Supposed Pros of solitary confinement

Dangerous prisoners such as child molesters, murderers and ex-gang members can be kept segregated. These prisoners pose real threats to fellow inmates and the prison staff. Since segregation uses higher level of security and isolates the inmate from others, it is not likely that the prisoner will harm others.

Rehabilitation and reformation of the prisoner’s character is another benefit of segregation. Often prisoners repent on their wrong doings while they are in a prison, and this is even more correct when they are isolated from others. Once left with their conscience, prisoners will engage in inner reflection, take a look at the error of their ways and get transformed into law abiding citizens after getting out of the prison.

Isolation also safeguards general public and prison staff. Segregation from human contacts makes certain that no one will get physically harmed by the inmate. Such a punishment is ideal for those who are violent and harm anyone they get in contact with.

Definite Cons of solitary confinement

While complete isolation presents a number of benefits, this kind of punishment has certain drawbacks as well. First of all, it creates the loss of freedom for inmates. If a prisoner is kept segregated, he might be stripped of the sensation of having control over his surroundings, and this can lead to enhanced anxiety, claustrophobia and paranoia.

Also, it may not meet all needs of a prisoner. Most of the policies of complete isolation require 22 to 23 hours of segregation each day. Only an hour or two is reserved for recreational activities for prisoners. However, such a small time frame may not meet the needs of an inmate, and he can resort to self-destructive behavior.

Bottom line

Solitary confinement is a type of punishment that has its own merits and demerits. While most of the law enforcers believe that the punishment is one of the best alternatives and reform measures, others assert that segregation is not just and fair. Still, the practice of complete isolation prevails today for violent prisoners.


The Legal Ramifications Of Solitary Confinment

For anyone who’s ever been confined to a jail cell or prison cell, the thought of confinement is in itself a terrible disposition and a lowly form of existence. Additional detriments to this condition include the addition of one or more hostile, anti-social or pathological cell-mates who make life even more difficult to deal with on a daily basis.

There’s no worse feeling than being caged in with one or more other lunatics whom you can’t trust and fear for your life. The only avenue of repose in this type of situation is to be placed in solitary confinement. Although this situation might seem a break from the insanity of overcrowding, it too holds a long established set of problems, especially when it’s strict solitary confinement.

Penal institutions often use solitary confinement as a punitive tool to enhance an inmate’s experience, especially when the inmate is charged with additional crimes within the penal system, up to and including altercations, theft or even attempts to escape. A prisoner might find himself isolated if he suddenly becomes the object of desire by others in the system, whether its through exploitation or protection as a witness.

Unfortunately, the adverse effects of pure solitary confinement have been researched and found to be evident in a majority of prisoner who might find themselves in this situation. Whether it’s called the ‘hole’ or the ‘box’ or the ‘shoe’ or ‘the block’ or perhaps ‘the cooler’ or simply ‘segregation’, the impact of pure isolation except for one or two hours a day with only access to prison staff is undeniable.

Some compare the effects of this type of isolation to pure torture, and question its legality. If the human mind can erode into a bubbling mess of anguish when placed in an isolation chamber, then it isn’t much different than when it’s placed in prison isolation. Only pure anthrophobes might find this situation livable, otherwise a normal individual would succumb to the torture of being alone hour after hour, until some type of adverse behavioral manifestation would creep in and take over. It’s been proven over and over again that these individuals begin to exhibit hallucinations, loss of touch with reality and the invocation of self-harming thoughts. Without access to healthcare, these thoughts and behaviors take on a new form in the individual’s mind and set them up for failure once they rejoin the population. For this type of torture one must question whether this is a legality issue in our penal systems.

Jail House

Criticism Surrounds Solitary Confinement

There are prisons located throughout the world. The all have methods, techniques, and policies that can vary greatly country to country. One thing the majority of them have in common is some sort of solitary confinement. Solitary confinement is a controversial practice that has been met with criticism for nearly 150 years.

What Is Solitary Confinement

Solitary confinement is a form of imprisonment where a prisoner is isolated, or confined, in one cell by themselves with little to no contact with anyone except prison staff. They are kept in this cell anywhere between 22 and 24 hours every day. Prisoners are put in solitary confinement as a punitive consequence. Prisoners are also put in solitary confinement as a security measure. Certain high risk criminal populations, such as those who have committed crimes against children, must be isolated from the general population as a protective measure. Prisoners that demonstrate suicidal tendencies are also typically confined to solitary confinement in order to control the dangers of the environment.

Negative Effects

Even though several view solitary confinement as a necessary evil, much criticism has circled around the negative psychological effect of the practice. The negative psychological consequences have presented themselves in individuals without any prior mental health issues. In one case, an otherwise mentally healthy prisoner suffered from Ganser syndrome as a result of solitary confinement. Ganser syndrome will cause a person to essentially lose touch with reality. Those suffering from Ganser syndrome are no longer able to form coherent sentences or complete simple actions. It has been given the moniker of the nonsense syndrome. Those with existing mental health issues typically will see an increase in the severity of the issues. The effects are especially detrimental on juveniles.

History of Negative Effects

No one can be certain how long solitary confinement has been a form of imprisonment. What is known is that the negative effects and controversy of the method has been documented at least since 1829. This is when officials at the Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania first begin to document the debilitating psychological effects of this type of confinement. It would again be documented in 1890 by the United States Supreme Court. The detrimental effects would also be documented in other parts of the world. The Denmark Institute would record the psychological effects from this type of confinement from 1870 through 1920. Still to this day the Academy of Psychiatry continues to monitor and record the negative effects solitary confinement has on the psyche of prisoners.

Avoid Excessive Penalties By Hiring The Best Drug Lawyer For The Best Outcome

Drug crimes have received lots of attention in the past decade as government and authorities try to eliminate the sale, distribution, possession, and manufacture of controlled substances such as marijuana, heroin and cocaine among others. To discourage people from using and keeping drugs, governments have put in place stringent penalties and fines. Therefore, it is no wonder that one of the worst cases you can have in court is the one that relates to the possession and use of controlled substances. If you are arrested for drug related cases, it is important to hire the best drug lawyer Winnipeg to help you put up a good defense.

How to choose the best drug lawyer

Drug cases are different from other criminal cases as they usually carry the most stringent penalties including jail time. Therefore, the most important factor that you should consider is the experience of the lawyer. The best drug lawyer Winnipeg should have a deep understanding of the drug laws including the court process. Some of the questions you should ask the lawyer about his or her experiences as a drug attorney include the number of people he or she has represented, the number of cases won, the number of cases solved in the court and the number of cases solved through negotiations.

A lawyer who is highly experienced in all areas that touch drug cases is the best as he or she guarantees the best outcome irrespective of your circumstance. Another factor that you should consider is the personal character of the lawyer. In order for you to get the best outcome, you must have a working attorney-client relationship. You should hire a lawyer who you can tell everything about the case including the things you would not like other people to know in order to come up with a good defense.


If you are charged with possession, use or sale of drugs in Winnipeg, you should contact an experienced drug attorney to help protect your rights as well as to put up a good defense.