New Fact Sheet Explores the Effects of Solitary Confinement on the Human Brain

by | June 13, 2023

Today, Solitary Watch is publishing the fifth in a new series of fact sheets offering facts, analysis, and resources on a variety of topics related to solitary confinement in U.S. prisons, jails, and immigrant and juvenile facilities. This fact sheet, written by Veronica Riccobene, is titled “Solitary Confinement & the Brain: The Neurological Effects.”

Download “Solitary Confinement and The Brain: The Neurological Effects: Solitary Watch Fact Sheet #5” (2023, PDF)

As the fact sheet states, “A growing body of research shows that isolation has deep and lasting effects on the chemistry and functioning of the human brain and nervous system. This research provides convincing evidence that in addition to its devastating psychological impact, solitary confinement causes serious—and in some cases, permanent—neurological damage.”

The first fact sheet in the new series addresses “Racism and Solitary Confinement,” while the second covers the often overlooked “Collateral Consequences of Solitary Confinement.” The third in the series documents the “Psychological Effect of Solitary Confinement,” and the fourth challenges misconceptions about “Solitary Confinement and Prison Safety.” Future entries in the fact sheet series will cover “Solitary Confinement and Prison Oversight,” as well as the specific impacts of solitary on LGBTQ+ individuals, women, and children—with seven more fact sheets currently in progress. All existing fact sheets can be found together on this page.

Fact sheets are designed to be accessed online and also printed out and copied for use by educators, advocates, policymakers, and others.

Jean Casella

Jean Casella is the director of Solitary Watch. She has also published work in The Guardian, The Nation, and Mother Jones, and is co-editor of the book Hell Is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement. She has received a Soros Justice Media Fellowship and an Alicia Patterson Fellowship. She tweets @solitarywatch.

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