American Psychiatry Should Join the Call to Abolish Solitary Confinement

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

This editorial calls for the American Psychiatric Association and other mental health organizations to oppose solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. The editorial reviews the arguments for supporting solitary confinement, referred to as segregation in U.S. prisons and outlines its negative impacts.

Those who support solitary confinement say it is needed for the safety of inmates and others, for behavioral change and as a punishment for infractions. Offenses resulting in solitary confinement in some states, including accessing social networking sites, failure to stand for a count, being out of place, refusing to participate in programs, talking disrespectfully to a correctional officer and failure to obey an order.

Solitary confinement has the potential for psychological and physiological harm, and is linked to increase dmortality.