ENDING SOLITARY CONFINEMENT
Sensory deprivation and extreme isolation of solitary confinements fails to help inmates, correctional officers or the prison system at large. It usually just causes more harm. In fact, The United Nations Committee Against Torture has called the practice of isolation a “violation of international human rights.”
According to a report issued by Yale School of Law and the Association of State Correctional Administrators in late 2015, Arkansas already has the highest percentage of male inmates in solitary confinement in the country. A recent proposal by the Arkansas Department of Corrections would add 400 solitary cells to our existing 2,191 cells, allowing up to 16% of the entire prison population to be held in isolation at any given time. All of this, while experts recommend a move away from solitary confinement, and other states are reducing and discontinuing the use of isolation.
Instead of doubling down on solitary, we would be wise to learn from these mistakes and move forward with evidence-based alternatives. Arkansas should entirely eliminate solitary confinement and instead build program-rich communities that support safe, healthy rehabilitation and reintegration into society.