Solitary Confiment: New Data and Food for Thought

In an intriguing article/newsletter/blog post, “REPORT OFFERS RARE DATA ON SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN UNITED STATES” real data is offered on solitary confinement in the American prison system. The numbers are impressive. This article took its information from a report, “Aiming To Reduce Time-In-Cell.” published by “The Association of State Correctional Administrators, of The Arthur Liman Public Interest Program, Yale Law School in November 2016.

The report noted that “In the fall of 2015, 67,442 people were locked in a cell for at least 22 hours a day, for 15 continuous days or more.” The data was collected from 45 of the 50 state prison systems, and, 48 of the 53 federal prison jurisdictions.

Texas, one of my ancestral home states, that has the highest number of death row inmates in a county jail in the country, Harris County of Houston, was second only to California in the total number of inmates in solitary.

As far as the mentally ill population is concerned, the article states, “Just over 54,000 incarcerated men are reported to have serious mental health issues in general population. A little more than 5,000 incarcerated men with serious mental health issues are in isolation.”

As a final note, the percentages of inmates in solitary confinement is quite striking in some states that have relatively small comparable total state populations.