Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ban solitary confinement for youth in care of the federal government [Extra Credit]

This article describes the authors opinion that solitary confinement for youth especially who are in federal detention centers should be banned. I believe that this is an especially significant problem in the United States and that this issue, especially for minors, is one that should not have any further delay in being addressed. According to the article, the US not only leads all countries in the developed world in having children locked up, but also in the number of children who are held in solitary confinement. Because solitary confinement means 22-24 hours a day isolated usually without sunlight, exercise, or education these children are subjected to their own thoughts alone for these extended periods of time. The reason this is such a large issue is that with children comes the added factor of them still being in their developmental years. Sometimes being put in solitary holding is for the safety or intended benefit of the youth, but more often than not it does not have the desired effect. The needs of a child going through their formative years in solitary confinement are not meet, and rather the opposite effect of psychotic and other mental problems rapidly arise. This issue manifests itself most frighteningly in the fact that so many of these youth try and take their own life when subjected to this kind of incarceration. The article states that more than half of all suicides in juvenile facilities occurred when the person was in isolation. I'm not sure why this issue has not been more in the forefront of the national discussion, but because its far reaching and destructive effects on our country and its young people especially, something needs to be done to try and rectify this situation. It seems like this kind of treatment is solving the issue of delinquent treatment, but it seems that it is just broadening a growing human injustice. We should make efforts for both minors and adults alike within our prison systems to find ways of separating inmates from others that are not as harmful and destructive to the spirit and even identity of these individuals than the current methods being used.

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