At the first-ever congressional hearing on solitary confinement on June 19 2012, some disturbing facts were revealed. In a press release issued by his office, Assistant Majority Leader Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) stated that more than 80,000 people have been held in some form of restricted detention. Durbin claimed that 56 percent of Illinois prisoners have experienced being sent to segregated housing. Durbin, who chaired the hearing, explained that keeping someone housed in solitary confinement can cost up to three times as much it does to house someone in a "regular" prison unit.
Professor Craig Haney of the University of California, Santa Cruz testified that solitary confinement can lead to suicide, and Durbin declared that studies have shown that up to half of all prison suicides happen in solitary confinement. To view Durbin’s press release including the testimony of the witnesses, click here to go to website.
On February 25, 2014 Durbin called for an end to solitary confinement for juveniles, pregnant women, and those those with a serious mental illness.
In its coverage of the issues surrounding solitary confinement, National Public Radio (NPR) reported on the testimony of Piper Kerman, author of the best-selling book “Orange is the New Black.” Kerman, a former inmate, spoke of how the fear of being placed in solitary confinement can prevent an inmate from reporting sexual or other abuse.