Argumentative Essay on Solitary Confinement: Why It Is Dangerous

Argumentative Essay on Solitary Confinement: Why It Is Dangerous
📌Category: Crime, Prisons
📌Words: 1072
📌Pages: 4
📌Published: 11 May 2021

Oxford Dictionary defines dehumanization as: a deprivation of positive human qualities; "brutal management methods and fear can dehumanize people". Solitary confinement is a dehumanizing restraint that binds prisoners from having any outside communications or contact. This lack in physical contact and proper visitation can lead those involved toward psychological dysfunction. Therapy sessions for those in solitary are brief and monitored, making each session uneasy and frankly discomforting. Prisoners, although generalized to be malicious, mischievous, and incomparably despicable, they undergo a tremendous amount of pressure while being suppressed in a cramped and isolated environment for the convicted; places such as these only make space for suicidal thoughts.

Their suicidal thoughts can be developed through the minimal communication platform, but potentially from the lapse in sunlight and malnourishment of the body. Solitary confinement is an obscure and torturous method of consequence, which; may call for a punishment in violation of the 8th Amendment in the United States Constitution which states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Though more so frequent in America, America isn’t the only place where solitary confinement is a method of punishment. Places like Egypt, the United Kingdom, and Canada are also using these tactics of consequence in their prisons. Ramifications such as these are in dire need of prohibition for their mercilessness and unjustly implementations, and the reasons for this are plentiful.

One of the more pressing elements that solitary has over an individual is the loss of inmates. It affects a detainee in two ways: psychologically and physically, for without proper means of social contact, a culprit is subject to depart from their cognitive and communicative skills along with their ability to retain information. It is not uncommon for the perpetrator to develop early-onset alzheimer's, a symptom of dementia. According to Effects of Solitary Confinement on the Well-Being of Prison Inmates, “Another confinement related psychological symptom that inmates may experience is disrupted thinking, defined as an inability to maintain a coherent flow of thoughts.”

Alzheimer’s is one of the most common memory loss diseases amongst those in solitary captivity; causing those dealing with the disease an intense maelstrom of the brain where thought becomes a whirlpool and makes for a rapid decline in cognitive balance. Disorientations can be commonly found throughout not only the mind, but in physical behaviours as well. Muscle movements may be unable to combine, staggering of speech, loss in appetite, and even chronic lethargy are just few of the many repercussions of solitary confinement. Those in solitary often lose their will to live, for they lose purpose when they’re being held back against their will, and it is because of this that many yardbirds develop suicidal thoughts and act upon it with whatever is available to their access. The responses of solitary confinement are denounced to be horrific and invasive to the natural reconstruction process of good morale in prisoners.

Although there is a loss in inmates, there are psychologists provided for the perps. Though it seems to resolve the issue of loneliness and inability to release pressures, most of the communications between a therapist and prisoner are brief and teachings can vary by prison. According to  The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, “Mental health services in segregation units are typically limited to psychotropic medication, a health care clinician stopping at the cell front to ask how the prisoner is doing (i.e., mental health rounds), and occasional meetings in private with a clinician. Individual therapy; group therapy; structured educational, recreational, or life-skill-enhancing activities.”

Therapeutic sessions are all primarily individualized but, may include group sessions which is virtually one of the only coping mechanisms in regards to having no inmates. There is often less trust when the sessions with a physician often have a breach in confidentiality. This instance primarily happens when a convict is threatening or attempting self-harm, planning a riot, or planning escape according to The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. Since the imprisoned isn’t entitled to confidentiality, it serves as another issue to which further stress them out and place heavier pressure. It is not ethically construct for a physician to leak information on the thoughts and state of mind a prisoner or any individual with whom console with them. The practice of dereliction in a psychologist affects the practitioner and the patient, therefore; making the environment hostile and non-relieving. The practice of psychology in solitary confinement is relatively useless and even more insubstantial to the growth and character development of the prisoner. 

The final aspect to the issues in solitary confinement within incarceration is the lack of involvement in society and the outside world. When in confinement, staying alone and inside so often creates a new found anxiety towards the world beyond the walls. “They actually get to the point where they become frightened of other human beings.”, said Craig Hanley PhD from the University of California for the American Psychological Association. In addition to that statement, B. H. Coates reported to the Philadelphia College of Physicians that inmates were, “Without air, exercise, or sunshine.” Understanding the symptoms of the confined, it is to be said that the convicts receive a lapse in nutrients from limited amounts of vitamin D and other essential facets for their health earned from being outdoors. Along with that, not being in contact with other people can trigger very unusual reactions and behaviours. It can leave the imprisoned naturally very aggressive or with slurred speech once returned their freedom. Being unable to expand upon one’s natural human needs is very dehumanizing for most, and usually leaves behind a more malnourished, delusional, and ill-mannered person. Solitary confinement a type of disciplinary mechanism but, the resulting product tends to feel depleted and forsaken to a worsened condition.

All in all, solitary confinement is a travesty to the life of a prisoner and needs attention brought to. It could almost violate the 8th Amendment in the US Constitution and leave a dehumanizing after effect to those forced into it. Humans, regardless of immorality, need the space to roam and grow as people. They need room to expand upon their thoughts and implement their ideas and skills into something beneficial for the development of society as a whole. In order for cooperation to surface, there needs to be a change in incarceration. Inmates need to be available but, need to be partially monitored in interactions to avoid the complications of gang wars and riots. Therapy sessions need to be more comfortable and the information should only be leaked in the case of escape being plotted. Lastly, there needs to be space for the prisoners to go out and leave the cell to exercise and feel the air. If these conditions are not treated, the future has a grand scheme of wasted potential that may have benefitted both causes. Everyone needs to be able to find growth in one way or another, through conversation and education in ethics, even prison can make that self-development possible.


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