ACLU: Women in Solitary Face ‘Unique Harms’


A new American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) policy brief calls for solitary confinement policies in women's prisons to account for key differences between males and females.

The brief notes that a higher percentage of women than men face prison for non-violent crimes and imprisoned women are more likely to suffer from serious mental illness.

Studies have shown that solitary confinement can exacerbate an inmate's mental health issues, but “the unique harms and dangers of subjecting women prisoners to this practice have rarely been examined,” the brief's authors wrote.

The ACLU also argues that for women who have suffered physical or sexual abuse in the past — which a high percentage of female inmates report — the toll of solitary can be particularly high.

“Women in solitary confinement, especially those who have been victimized by men in the past, can experience acute psychological suffering when they are closely watched, with virtually no privacy, by male guards,” authors wrote.

Read the full 12-page brief HERE.

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