New Resource: Solitary Confinement FAQ

by | March 19, 2012

Our amazing intern/reporter/researcher Sal Rodriguez, author of several fact sheets and articles on this site, has produced a new resource: Frequently Asked Questions on Solitary Confinement. Questions include:

What is solitary confinement?

How many people are held in solitary confinement?

Who gets put in solitary confinement?

What are conditions like in solitary confinement?

How long do people spend in solitary confinement?

What are the psychological effects of solitary confinement?

Are people with mental illnesses put in solitary confinement?

Are juveniles held in solitary confinement?

What effect does solitary confinement have on recidivism?

How much does solitary confinement cost?

How have the courts ruled on solitary confinement?

What are the alternatives to solitary confinement?

How do other countries use solitary confinement?

What do international bodies say about solitary confinement?

This comprehensive source of information has a permanent home at the FAQ page link above. To download the FAQ as a printable Word document, scroll down to link at the bottom–or just click here: Solitary Confinement FAQ

The FAQ is meant to be a community resource, collecting the most relevant data on various aspect of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails. Please send suggestions for changes and additions to


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  • Alan CYA # 65085

    Without listing the total of the other 42 states you write:

    “…eight state prison systems and the federal prison system alone hold a combined total of more than 44,000 prisoners in isolated confinement….and it has become a control strategy of first resort in many prisons and jails.”

    It also points out the sad truth of who gets placed in these holes for their own protection or because of mental illness, and lists the added costs to our society both monetarily and morally. When we think of the mental damage caused by this system and the fact that it does little to prevent future crimes by these inmates one has to conclude that these costs are way too high to continue to bare.

    To make the point stick I hope that someone can get a hold of the number held in the remaining 42 states. And also the average number in county jails and juvenile facilities on any given day?

    It must be an exponentially larger number than 44K.

    It’s enough to make the Statue of Liberty shed a tear.

    Land of the free, yeah right, until with the countless laws on the books, we are not, then we become mere numbers on a balance sheet and left mentally scared while bearing a scarlet letter for life. How do we go on from that point?

  • Thank you Solitary Watch and Sal for this great report. Makes our work as advocates so much easier to have this hard to find data at our finder tips. I will use it often and will recommend Solitary Watch as a must read for those involved in criminal justice reform.

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