As many states cut back on solitary confinement, it still is frequently ordered in Minnesota prisons. Four hundred thirty seven inmates spent a year or more in solitary, and one was in solitary for more than a decade. Critics say the practice harms inmate mental health. Corrections official Terry Carlson says it is justified for those who “seriously assault” a staff member or kill another offender.
If Gov. Chris Christie signs a bill limiting solitary confinement, New Jersey will join at least a dozen other states that have taken similar actions. State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, who urged the change, says solitary causes “mental illness, bitterness, and anger.”
New York City will no longer send youths 21 and under to solitary confinement. A former prison health care provider says it’s time to apply such an approach nationwide–and for professional associations of social workers and psychologists to put their clout behind efforts to toss this “inhumane” practice into the dustbins of history.