Tom Clements

How to fix solitary confinement in American prisons

How to fix solitary confinement in American prisons

Hundreds of prisoners live in solitary confinement in Los Angeles County jails. On average, they spend at least one year in a cell the size of a wheelchair-accessible bathroom stall, leaving only a few times a week, one at a time, for showers or exercise. Meals arrive through a slot in the cell door. Between the long hours in isolation and the steel doors, a prisoner might go days, or longer, without looking another person in the eye.

Solitary confinement costs taxpayers 2 to 3 times more per prisoner than less restrictive forms of incarceration. California officials estimated they would save $28 million this year by reducing the state’s solitary confinement population by...

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