California needs to limit the use of solitary confinement

In Politics by Michael Rae

California lawmakers are again considering legislation limiting the use of solitary confinement. Assembly Bill 280, the California Mandela Act on Solitary Confinement, aims to reduce the use of segregated confinement in the state’s prisons, jails, and private detention facilities. On any given day, there are, on average, 4,000 California inmates in solitary confinement, and the proposed changes could reduce this number by as much as 70 percent.

Long periods of solitary confinement can have severe and lasting psychological, neurological, and physiological consequences that significantly worsen the longer a person remains solitary. Symptoms include anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypersensitivity, and post-traumatic stress disorder.