"I go to bed crying sometimes because I feel I have no hope of being outside of that cell any more,"
The Colorado prison system has been notoriously known for its over use of solitary confinement. Colorado has also been know to have a higher rater of incarceration than the national average. Thanks to organizations like the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Solitary Watch, Supermaxed and diligent congress men and women....the light is beginning to come on concerning torture in America.
While prisons cut education programs, rehabilitation programs and re-entry programs, the use of solitary confinement has increased. Stands to reason really, with nothing to focus on, with no outlet for energy, with no positive direction focused on rehabilitation....you might have trouble. Except that the extended use of solitary confinement is shown to CAUSE trouble.
Colorado Department of Corrections requested an outside examination of their solitary confinement practices. Once the audit was complete, here is the report issued:
Colorado Department of Corrections Administrative Segregation and Classification Review. (click to read)
This study published in Nov. 2011 by the National Institute of Corrections Prisons Division found that Colorado had an above average percentage of inmates being held in solitary confinement regardless of their mental states and that over 40 percent of them are later directly released into the community. The findings and recommendations of the study led to significant reforms to limit the use of solitary confinement.
However, extended periods of isolation has been found to exacerbate mental illness and even cause mental illness in otherwise healthy individuals. Incidents of suicide, self mutilation and violent outbursts are found in inmates held for extended periods of time in isolation. Clearly a destructive and cruel form of punishment.
Thankfully there are champions of the cause who are challenging these practices in court. This article was written earlier this week by Alan Prendergast on a case concerning Troy Anderson and the condiitons of his confinement in Colorado State Penitentiary. "In what amounts to a landmark decision, a federal judge has ruled that the conditions of solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary constitute "a paradigm of inhumane treatment" and must change -- notably, so that inmates locked down in their cells 23 hours a day can have at least three hours a week of natural light, fresh air and outdoor exercise. "The Eighth Amendment does not mandate comfortable prisons, but it does forbid inhumane conditions," U.S. District Judge Brooke Jackson wrote in an order issued last Friday." Read the rest of the article - Westword
You can read the articles written on the same subject by Solitary Watch. Thank you ALL for your diligence!