NY Times Calls Prison Solitary Confinment “Cruel and Futile”


The New York Times editorial page says that solitary confinement–up to 23 hours a day in isolation, can cause depression, rage, and severe mental suffering. Juan Méndez, United Nations special rapporteur on torture, pressed the United Nations Human Rights Council last week to help reduce the use of solitary confinement.

The Times argues that solitary confinement “often sparks violence instead of dampening it” and “tends to increase the likelihood that a prisoner will “commit another crime when he gets out.” Citing its own recent story on the subject, which was summarized in this digest, the Times says that several states are trying to reduce the numbers in solitary. It says a “compelling class action lawsuit” filed last week against Arizona “shows that much needs to be done to force policymakers to abandon this cruel and futile practice.”

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