Cindy Chang, “No touching. No human contact. The hidden toll on jail inmates who spend months or years alone in a 7x9 foot cell,” Los Angeles Times, September 25, 2016.
Many reductions in the number of inmates in restrictive housing have been made at the state level. “But long-term isolation in county lockups, where most inmates are awaiting trial or serving short sentences, has largely remained a hidden issue.” The average stay in restrictive housing is over a year, which results in debilitating psychological affects that can continue after the inmate is released.
The definition of solitary confinement being varied and wide-ranging has helped the issue stay hidden, as jail officials are able to remove their cells with certain amenities from the definition, while maintaining its harmful effects.
Additionally, jail officials have found that it is easy to be placed in solitary confinement or be labeled as a dangerous inmate in need of solitary for general population safety, but it is incredibly difficult to work one’s way out of that condition or status.
Keywords: prison isolation, mental illness, mental health, restrictive housing, K-10, torture, pregnant