Solitary error: The state pays for the mistreatment of an inmate

Within the walls of many prisons, inmates found to have threatened the peace or order of the facility are placed in solitary confinement. Barred from human contact, these prisoners are locked typically in tiny, windowless cells for nearly all hours of the day. Some are held there for years. “The hole” is a common term for the official torment of solitary confinement, which is under growing attack in the United States by mental health professionals, civil libertarians and others. Research has shown that inmates subjected to prolonged isolation suffer from physical and psychological damage, an outcome likely to incite vindictive behavior upon release. Innocent people are often the victims. While criminals should not be coddled while serving their prison sentences, solitary confinement is an


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