Should Federal Prisons Restrict the Use of Solitary Confinement? Examining Solitary Confinement in the United States – A Research Study

  • Roumita Dey
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  • Roumita Dey

    Ex-Litigation Associate at ROYZZ & CO, India

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Over the last two decades, the use of solitary confinement (“Solitary Confinement”) in the United States correctional facilities has surged. Before 1990, super–maximum security (“supermax”) prisons were rare. Now, 44 states and the federal government have supermax units, where prisoners are held in extreme isolation, often for years or even decades. On any given day in this country, it’s estimated that over 80,000 prisoners are held in isolated confinement. This massive increase in the use of solitary has happened despite criticism from legal and medical professionals, who have deemed the practice unconstitutional and inhumane. And it has happened despite research suggesting that supermax prisons actually have a negative effect on public safety. As a part of the growing movement for reform, recommendations are made to end solitary confinement, contending that this is to the benefit of prisoners and prisons, as well as the communities to which prisoners will return. Although the reform of solitary confinement is underway in many states in the USA, isolation remains in widespread use in many jails and prisons. In the current Biden administration, the Congress has introduced a new Bill (“Bill”) that would amend title 18 of the US Code to restrict the use of solitary confinement for inmates in the federal custody. This Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on April 01, 2021 and is currently awaiting votes by the full chamber on the Bill. Already, eighteen states, including Connecticut, have passed bills that limit or prohibit solitary confinement in the United States (“U.S.”/ “United States”). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the background of Solitary Confinement and its history, its negative effects on the society and the growing movement for reform in the United States and the Solitary Confinement Bill which is awaiting to become a law.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 4, Page 1654 - 1670


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