Solitary confinement is a form of imprisonment in which an inmate is completely isolated from human contact, usually ranging from days to months and so on. Prisoners in solitary confinement occurs within a restricted cell unit, also known as "segregation," and no larger than a king size bed itself. Terms sometimes used to identify solitary confinement include "the box," "the shoe," and "the hole."
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama...yes President...issued an executive order to ban the use of solitary confinement for juveniles within the federal prison system. See, the thing is, if you do not know, solitary is used normally in most states within the United States, in hopes of serving as some sort of punishment. Now look. Isolation from human contact, in a 6:9 box, sometimes lacking water and consistent meals, barely any source of light. A situation like this is liable to cause an inmate complicated psychological issues on a long-term level. Go figure, right?
Well, our President has decided to take action on a federal level. Enough is enough right? Not only is solitary confinement normally used to punish inmates, but it is overused in cases of 'low-level infractions.' For example, inmates are sent to 'the hole' because a correction officer had a "bad day," or because an inmate made a comment at a CO to another inmate (without the CO hearing it). Lets face the facts...the use of solitary confinement is overused at times. Now, as far as a juvenile is concerned... lets remember that juveniles are 'young people,' relating to a teenager or adolescent. They're children. The fact that the consequences of being locked away in segregation can cause lasting, dramatic effects, but is made as an excuse to punish inmates as a way of 'teaching' them a lesson.
According to President Obama, "How can we subject prisoners to unnecessary solitary confinement, knowing its effects, and then expect them to return to our communities as whole people?...It doesn't make us safer. It's an affront to our common humanity." Although there seems to be a larger number of adults spending time in solitary confinement than juveniles, the fact is that juveniles...teenagers...these young children...should not have to endure living in a tiny box. According to the Campaign for Youth Justice, juveniles are 36 times more likely to commit suicide in an adult jail as compared to a juvenile detention facility, and 19 times more likely to commit suicide when in solitary confinement as opposed to confine with the general population units.
Since the beginning of his first term of as our President, Obama has always focused on tackling issues and questions regarding discrimination and race plaguing the minority communities throughout the United States. He has made it one of his priorities to help ex-offenders avoid reentry into the prison industrial complex, as well as help them reenter society after serving time in prison. His executive issue was established in hopes of not only making changes within federal prisons, but also within the local and state level.
What people (more or so correction officers and other staff members within prison and jail systems) fail to realize is that spending time inside of restrictive housing units makes it difficult for inmates to return to general population, and even released from prison. Spending time in solitary confinement even a few months before an inmate's release may cause negative psychological problems. The issue at hand is that although people commit different crimes, adult and children, being forced to spend time in a congested 80-square-foot box with the lack of sunlight, for days, even months, and up to a full year...can lead to disturbing behavior, causing permanent scars.
In the words of President Obama, "In America, we believe in redemption."