The Washington Post recently said that the use of solitary confinement has “reached a watershed moment” in the U.S.
Thousands of prisoners are isolated days, weeks, months and even years.
President Obama, cited the “devastating, lasting psychological consequences” solitary confinement inflicts, but many of those in solitary confinement are mentally ill to begin with. The cruel and unusual punishment causes their mental health to deteriorate beyond what it was before they went in.
Last week, President Obama announced a ban on isolating juveniles in federal prisons. He also reduced the maximum number of days federal inmates can be isolated from 365 days to 60, for a first offense. But many say that isn’t good enough. Many believe that solitary confinement for 60 days, for a first offense is still too long.
Currently, about 90% of those in solitary confinement are being held at state and county facilities.
One of them was Kevin Bushrod Jr., who was isolated for six months, all over events stemming from a traffic stop.
The isolation began back in November 2014. At the time, Bushrod said he didn’t even understand why he was being isolated, and no one cared to explain it to him.
It all started when a Washington, D.C., cop pulled him over for driving with a suspended license.
Bushrod tried to get away, but the cop shot him in the left shoulder, even though he was not a threat to the officer.
To add insult to injury, Bushrod was charged with “assault on an officer while armed.” The courts claimed the car was the weapon, even though he did not try to hit the officer.
As a result, he faced solitary confinement in a cell the size of a ping-pong table. There was nothing in the cell but a steel toilet and sink.
Bushrod tried to hang himself with his bedsheets, but failed.
Solitary confinement Thomas Faust, director of the D.C. Department of Corrections, claims that solitary “is a needed tool within correctional management,” and that “within my opinion, it’s a tool that corrections have to have. However, I think that we need to do a better job of it.”
But so far, he’s offered no tangible ways to do a better job of it.
(Article by M. David)