What Happens When Young People Are Held In Solitary Confinement?
Date:  01-30-2013

Harmful effects can be more profound for youth, than for adults, study finds
A new report issued by The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU ) and Human Rights Watch (HRW, Growing UP Locked Down: Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons Across the United States, states that the experience of solitary confinement on a young person can have “a profound effect on their chance to rehabilitate and grow.” The report also includes a mapping section of youth in prisons and jails in each state, as well as incarceration rates over the past few years.

According to the report, young people placed in solitary confinement are often denied exercise, medical and mental health treatment, education opportunities, and visits from family members. The ACLU and HRW also claim that young people placed in solitary confinement have been known to engage in harmful behavior such as cutting themselves, and even attempting suicide.

Growing Up Locked Down reveals that solitary confinement is used to punish, manage , protect and quarantine youth, but adds “…the conditions that young people in solitary confinement experience are essentially the same, regardless of the purpose for which it is being used. Young people held in adult facilities across the United States are subjected to all forms of solitary confinement, without accommodation for their age or developmental needs, and often for weeks and months.”

The report addresses the harmful effects of solitary confinement and offers the following recommendations:

  • Prohibit the solitary confinement of youth under age 18.

  • Prohibit the housing of adolescents with adults, or in jails and prisons designed to house adults.

  • Strictly limit and regulate all forms of segregation and isolation of young people.

  • Monitor and report on the segregation and isolation of adolescents.

  • Ratify human rights treaties protecting young people without reservations.

    Source: Reclaiming Futures
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