What is solitary confinement?


Solitary confinement is a form of imprisonment in the prison system. Solitary confinement has different names like, the SHU, the hole, the box, lock down, holding cell, Special Housing Unit and isolation. Is small cell with no windows, a little amount of space. Most prisons let their inmates in solitary for 20-24 hours a day but some inmates stay there for months, years or even decades. Solitary confinement is usually used for the most dangerous prisoners, who are danger to other inmates, Also inmates who may have suicide thoughts or actions are put in solitary confinement. Some prisons, use solitary confinement for prisoners who don’t fallow rules or are suspected of some form of contraband. America locks more people in isolation than any other democratic company.


Who is in the SHU?

Men make the biggest population in solitary confinement. Especially men of color. Majority of men in the Shu are Latino men or African American men. There has been cases were men have been wrongly prosecuted and been in the Shu accidentally.

Solitary confinement is a such a controversial issue. A lot of people say is a form of torture, especially when kids are being put in he Shu. Some people say that it actually helps dangerous inmates calm down and be better prisoners.


Women in the SHU


Finding women in the SHU is pretty rear. Mental illness is more common on female prisoners than male.  Solitary confinement is specially bad for women who have been victims of sexual abuse. Is traumatizing for women to be watched by male guards even in their most intimate moments and It makes them feel vulnerable There has been actual reports of women, who have sexually abused by guards.


For example this quote from an article on Alternet “stories arise in which women who report rape and other abuse by corrections officers are sent to solitary confinement. Women who have been sexually abused by prison guards are thus faced with another painful dilemma, forced to decide between reporting the attack and risking retaliation, or not reporting it and risking further assault.” (http://www.alternet.org/new-report-5-ways-solitary-confinement-especially-harmful-women)

Mothers who are in the shu tent to not have any relatonship with their kids.


Teenagers in Solitary Confinement

Solitary confinement is very controversial specially when it comes to kids. Believe it or not there are kids in solitary confinement. New York is mostly know for putting kids in solitary confinement. In NY kids over 16 are charged and treated like adults.

I was watching a video on this man who was a corrections officer for Rikers in New York talking about kids in the shu. He said”imagine a young child that is locked in an area sometimes the size of a bathroom how does he mentally cope with that being in that cell sometimes for 2 months 3 months 4 months sometimes you know they don’t lock dogs up for that period of time and so can you imagine somebody locking a dog up for hours you can imagine PETA and all those people protesting but we cant do that for a human being who is locked up for 23 hours something is wrong.”