Using Solitary Confinement as an Inmate Management Tool – Part I

Corrections professionals are encountering an increasing trend challenging the use of solitary confinement.  The conflict is mostly being stirred up by the media,legislatures,inmate advocate groups and the public. Some have tried to link isolated incidences where solitary confinement was in use with an in-custody death and or other situations regarding an inmate’s behavior,often tied to mental health issues.

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The Debate Over Solitary Confinement

In the debate over whether solitary confinement is beneficial or hostile to prisoner management,legal considerations have received insufficient attention. The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that officials have a duty to take reasonable measures to protect prisoners from violence. But to provide reasonable measures to protect safety,officials must be able to control prisoners’ mobility,interaction with other prisoners and capability to harm others. Hands-on methods of control (ie.,grappling,fighting) provide high risk of injury.

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