What is solitary confinement?


Moorbey'z Blog

by Abdul Olugbala Shakur

At first glance, and from its most simplistic perspective, the question, What is solitary confinement? appears to be rhetorical, if not insulting, but you would be surprised, if not incredulous, how many prison rights activists are at a loss when I pose it to them. Even more perplexing, many prisoners are only able to provide the standard but antiquated response, which is: a prisoner in a cell behind a solid door, in which he/she is isolated from other prisoners and human contact.

With at least 20 prisoners on each tier, Alcatraz represented the dawning of a new theoretical concept, which was mass solitary confinement isolation. – Photo: © 2006 Betty Malloy

By no means am I implying that this is the incorrect answer. What I am implying, however, is: right answer, but wrong century!

From the beginning of the 20th century on and further back, this answer was applicable. But at the end of the 20th century and into the start of the 21st century, its theoretical concept remained, but its tactical application has transformed…

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