Center on Sentencing and Corrections

What to Do with the Survivors?: Coping With the Long-Term Effects of Isolated Confinement

What to Do with the Survivors?: Coping With the Long-Term Effects of Isolated Confinement

Kupers, Terry A. “What to Do with the Survivors?: Coping With the Long-Term Effects of Isolated Confinement.” Criminal Justice and Behavior 35, no. 8 (August 2008): 1005-1016.

There is a significant number of people in prison who have serious mental illnesses and serious behavioral problems, often resulting in their placement in segregated, isolated units. Sometimes these individuals are confined in segregation until they are released from prison, a practice which makes their successful re-entry incredibly difficult and therefore poses serious problems to the communities to which they are returning. This article examines the trend of “attempts to solve the crisis by convicting the prisoner of additional crimes to extend prison tenure or by activating postincarceration civil commitment to a psychiatric hospital.” The author also reviews the literature on the harms of prolonged solitary confinement.

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Keywords: solitary confinement, segregated housing, isolation, mental health, mental illness, mental illness and solitary confinement, vulnerable populations

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