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Solitary Confinement in the Jail System.. Humane or Inhumane?


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  • 1 Post By Frackel
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  #1  
March 22nd, 2012, 12:01 AM
KiwiMommy's Avatar Ashlynn's Mama
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Not sure if this subject has been discussed before but I'm watching a documentary on Netflix (National Geographic: Solitary Confinement) and it discusses the prison system and the possible negative effects of solitary confinement.
I'm not super far into it (15 minutes out of 50 so far) but something one of the women interviewed kind of got me thinking. In the prison they are going through, the average stay is 2 years (it's all solitary confinement) and they get a 15 minute shower and 1 hour in a room with a bar on the wall to work out per day. 1/3 of the inmates stay longer than 2 years.
The woman, in short, said that these people are here without any human contact aside from being moved from room to room or given a tray of food through a slot in the door until they can be trusted to not hurt someone during actual human contact.
While I understand this is a good idea for SOME people (maybe.. I'm not even 100% on that thought) it bothered me when they said that xyz inmate was in there for trying to choke someone or something similar.
Follow me here... You're being cornered by police for whatever you did and they plan on throwing you to the ground, pinning you down and making your hands immobile. I don't know about you ladies, but my first thought (read thought, not action) is to defend myself.. It's natural instinct.
Does this mean this person would normally wound someone? Maybe, maybe not.

So in short, the concept of solitary confinement bothers me greatly. They're in an 8x10 room for 22 hours and 30 minutes (time being taken off for their shower, work out and movement to those rooms) every day with a small window, maybe a couple books and a bed. Is this REALLY a humane way to treat a human being? Some of these inmates are released into the general public. I can only imagine the irreparable damage being done to their brains during their confinement.

So wdyt? Is solitary confinement humane? Inhumane? Any other thoughts?

I think there are some clips from the documentary on youtube if you don't have netflix to check it out. If not, maybe National Geographic's website?
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  #2  
March 22nd, 2012, 07:44 AM
Frackel's Avatar DOh!
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I don't think you can paint solitary with a wide generalized brush, at all.
The reasons why people get put there are as vastly different as the crimes they commit, and the criminals themselves.
Though there are people in prison, who really shouldn't be there, they are not the majority, imo. So it also stands to reason those in solitary without just cause, are an even smaller minority.
I think most are there for good reason. Most prisons aren't set up to be entirely solitary. Which means someone has to do something in general population(or wherever it is they were/are) to get their butts tossed in solitary.

Human interaction is not a right, so the fact that prisoners in solitary get very little, doesn't bother me in the least. It's a privilege they gave up when they chose to do whatever it was that got them stuck there in the first place(again, this wouldn't include the minority of prisoners who should not be in prison in the first place-that's a whole different ball of wax).
They still get food, a time and a place for personal hygiene, medical care when/if needed, time to physically exercise(or at least use their legs a bit), materials for their minds bodies and souls, among other things...if they so choose to(and provided those privileges don't get revoked for breaking rules, of course).
I think the prison system, overall, does their best to still treat most *inmates* as if they are human beings, with rights. Always an exception, but I doubt it will ever become the rule.

I guess I kind of also have to look at it from the viewpoint of those who fell victim to those criminals. Were those victims afforded the same humane treatment the inmates(and those so adamantly against solitary, in some cases prison in general) are asking for? I am willing to bet, for a lot of the victims, they were not. Their lives were violated in some way by these people, too. Not that I'm always a tit for tat kind of person. But realistically speaking, most who get put in solitary are there because of violent acts, not because they pet the local puppy the wrong way. So, sometimes, they really are getting more than they might deserve, if one were to make a moral judgment call. I try not to, personally, I just happen to understand the view some take with regard to this. I can understand why some would be torn.

I had an uncle once put in solitary, a couple of times. Couldn't keep his **** hands off people. He deserved every second he spent in prison, especially in solitary(and he didn't even get all the same things you listed). Even he'd admit to you(if he hadn't passed away a couple of weeks ago) that he deserved every second of it. In fact he had the opinion that despite how pissed off he was back then, and how much he felt they were doing him wrong, it really was more than he deserved. Helped shape him into the man he became before getting out, and after too. I'm sure his case isn't the only one, just happens to be one I know of personally where solitary did more good than harm.
He probably would have ended up dead in general population had he not decided to haul off and whack a dude simply because. He was more than just a bit of an ******* back then.

Sorry had to edit that, the word prisoners made it sound, off, lol, inmates sounds better
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Last edited by Frackel; March 22nd, 2012 at 10:37 AM.
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  #3  
March 22nd, 2012, 03:53 PM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Not everyone in solitary are in there because they did a crime deserving of being in there. Some are in there to be protected, because they were being harrassed, etc. My brother was in solitary for many years, not because he did a horrible crime, but because they didn't have enough room in the prison for him to be in any other area. While I think it's good in some situations, long term solitary can have horrible psychological effects. It does make you lose your mind and go crazy, and we have to remember than some of these men/women in solitary will be back out in the world again.

Not everyone in solitary are in there because they did a crime deserving of being in there. Some are in there to be protected, because they were being harrassed, etc. My brother was in solitary for many years, not because he did a horrible crime, but because they didn't have enough room in the prison for him to be in any other area. While I think it's good in some situations, long term solitary can have horrible psychological effects. It does make you lose your mind and go crazy, and we have to remember than some of these men/women in solitary will be back out in the world again.

I also think the prison system is set up to make prisoners fail. Yes, most prisoners are there because they did a crime. Even in max prisons, there are men/women in there that didn't comit a crime that would be deserving of max security (rape, murder, assault, etc). I've watched shows/documentaries on US prisons and have had my own brother go through the system, and while I know these are criminals, I can't help but feel bad for some of them that went in there with a small crime and come out years later a bigger criminal that is now commiting bigger crimes and/or more violent crimes. Even if you go in and think you're going to keep to yourself and serve a 1 year sentance, for example, a lot of times you'll get pulled into prison crimes which can lead to making a sentance longer, or making you a worse criminal when you come out and then you'll be back in.
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  #4  
March 22nd, 2012, 07:56 PM
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I am against long-term solitary confinement in most, if not all, cases, and especially for the mentally ill. I frequently see the fast deterioration of severely mentally ill inmates when placed in Segregation, despite the fact that they get more human contact than what is seen as true solitary confinement (which is quite harsh in some states). There are ways to punish inmates while still giving them their basic needs. We can bolt them to the floor, put them behind shields, etc. to participate in group programming. I don't see human contact as a privilege, but rather a right that should be afforded to them especially considering the short and long-term effects it has on them as well as others.
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  #5  
April 14th, 2012, 09:57 AM
*Dayna*'s Avatar Aussie Mama
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I have no issues with it, as long as its for a deserved thing.

For instance - I spent six weeks in jail and a girl beat up another girl. She got three days in confinement. She knew what would happen if she did it so she deserved to be there.

I can't for the life of me imagine sitting in the dark with nothing to do.
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  #6  
April 14th, 2012, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Dayna* View Post
I have no issues with it, as long as its for a deserved thing.

For instance - I spent six weeks in jail and a girl beat up another girl. She got three days in confinement. She knew what would happen if she did it so she deserved to be there.

I can't for the life of me imagine sitting in the dark with nothing to do.
No one is talking about a 3 day solitary confinement here. We are discussing long-term confinement, often not even based on actions, but previous involvements in things, gang leaders, etc.
Those things are a far cry from 3 days in solitary for a cat-fight.
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  #7  
April 14th, 2012, 10:55 AM
*Dayna*'s Avatar Aussie Mama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesliek0211 View Post
No one is talking about a 3 day solitary confinement here. We are discussing long-term confinement, often not even based on actions, but previous involvements in things, gang leaders, etc.
Those things are a far cry from 3 days in solitary for a cat-fight.
Well I don't agree with solitary confinement unless an action in jail/prison warrants that first.

I realise that you're all not talking about 3 days, just yabbering as usual.
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  #8  
April 14th, 2012, 11:00 AM
*Dayna*'s Avatar Aussie Mama
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Leslie, if I'm remembering right you work in the prison system don't you?
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  #9  
April 14th, 2012, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frackel View Post
I don't think you can paint solitary with a wide generalized brush, at all.
The reasons why people get put there are as vastly different as the crimes they commit, and the criminals themselves.
Though there are people in prison, who really shouldn't be there, they are not the majority, imo. So it also stands to reason those in solitary without just cause, are an even smaller minority.
I think most are there for good reason. Most prisons aren't set up to be entirely solitary. Which means someone has to do something in general population(or wherever it is they were/are) to get their butts tossed in solitary.

It's a privilege they gave up when they chose to do whatever it was that got them stuck there in the first place(again, this wouldn't include the minority of prisoners who should not be in prison in the first place-that's a whole different ball of wax).
Human interaction is not a right, so the fact that prisoners in solitary get very little, doesn't bother me in the least.
They still get food, a time and a place for personal hygiene, medical care when/if needed, time to physically exercise(or at least use their legs a bit), materials for their minds bodies and souls, among other things...if they so choose to(and provided those privileges don't get revoked for breaking rules, of course).
I think the prison system, overall, does their best to still treat most *inmates* as if they are human beings, with rights. Always an exception, but I doubt it will ever become the rule.

I guess I kind of also have to look at it from the viewpoint of those who fell victim to those criminals. Were those victims afforded the same humane treatment the inmates(and those so adamantly against solitary, in some cases prison in general) are asking for? I am willing to bet, for a lot of the victims, they were not. Their lives were violated in some way by these people, too. Not that I'm always a tit for tat kind of person. But realistically speaking, most who get put in solitary are there because of violent acts, not because they pet the local puppy the wrong way. So, sometimes, they really are getting more than they might deserve, if one were to make a moral judgment call. I try not to, personally, I just happen to understand the view some take with regard to this. I can understand why some would be torn.

I had an uncle once put in solitary, a couple of times. Couldn't keep his **** hands off people. He deserved every second he spent in prison, especially in solitary(and he didn't even get all the same things you listed). Even he'd admit to you(if he hadn't passed away a couple of weeks ago) that he deserved every second of it. In fact he had the opinion that despite how pissed off he was back then, and how much he felt they were doing him wrong, it really was more than he deserved. Helped shape him into the man he became before getting out, and after too. I'm sure his case isn't the only one, just happens to be one I know of personally where solitary did more good than harm.
He probably would have ended up dead in general population had he not decided to haul off and whack a dude simply because. He was more than just a bit of an ******* back then.

Sorry had to edit that, the word prisoners made it sound, off, lol, inmates sounds better

Agree with all of the above.
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