Should solitary confinement of juveniles be prohibited? (S1965)

Summary for Congressional bill S 1965 (114th):

  • Prohibits, except in rare circumstances, the use of solitary confinement for juveniles held in federal facilities, including pretrial.

In Depth:

  • A maximum of 3 hours of solitary confinement allowed when a juvenile poses a serious threat to others.
  • A maximum of 30 minutes of solitary confinement allowed when juvenile poses a serious threat to him- or herself.

Vote Yes if you believe:

  • Solitary confinement does not allow for rehabilitation #SolitaryConfinement
  • Isolation for juveniles can lead to continued criminal or delinquent behavior. #JuvenileDetention
  • Prolonged solitary confinement can lead to adverse mental consequences. #MentalHealth #JuvenileDetention #SolitaryConfinement

Vote No if you believe:

  • Solitary confinement is an effective tool for deterring future crimes and behavior. #SolitaryConfinement
  • The high rates of suicides for juvenile inmates who have been in solitary confinement is not necessarily because of solitary confinement. #SolitaryConfinement #JuvenileDetention #Suicide

Congress.gov link to S 1965

(This is the 1st draft of the summary for a bill in Polinav. Summary & In-Depth is non-partisan & Vote yes/no reasons are fact-checked. if you think something is wrong, should be added or deleted, comment below!)


The concept of solitary confinement, like a “time out” when you’re a kid, isn’t a horrible concept. However, the way it’s used to keep people isolated for days, weeks, months, and even years at a time. That honestly seems like cruel and unusual punishment.

I like that they’re tackling this from the juvenile angle first, since brain development is still fairly crucial at a younger age, so mental trauma is more likely to have a longer lasting effect.

So, yeah, my stance on solitary confinement is that it should be used sparingly, but that assumes an actual functioning prison system. For one, we incarcerate way too many people in the US, with the highest incarcerated population in a developed country (about 700 per 100k). With so many people and not enough officers watching over them, it seems to have become much more of a limited care facility than rehabilitation.

We need to reexamine how our prison system can rehab inmates and help them integrate with society, instead of just keeping them locked up for a period of time. Further, it’s frustrating how much we spend on such an ineffectual system. At the same time, I wouldn’t blame it on just the prison system, but really on how we handle poverty in the US.

I would want my representatives to vote YES on this bill!

 

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