The current practices surrounding solitary confinement are failing everyone. Inmates are made more dangerous and then often released right back into the communities. Security in prisons is lowered at an increased cost to taxpayers. Policies in correctional facilities need to be significantly altered.And here are a few notable data points with which she backed up the argument:
Cages come with a cost, and this cage costs everyone.
solitary has become drastically overused by the Texas system. In other states, inmates in solitary confinement account for 1 or 2 percent of the incarcerated population. In Texas they account for 4.4 percent, many of them with mental disorders.
This number raises serious safety concerns. In 2013, more than 1,000 inmates in Texas were released back into the community directly from solitary confinement. Research has proven that inmates who are released directly from solitary confinement are 35 percent more likely to reoffend. This significantly increases their danger to communities.
Even if an inmate in solitary is not violent or threatening to begin with, time spent in solitary, which involves 23 hours in a cell with no stimulation, can increase that danger. Thousands of inmates sent to solitary confinement in Texas are already suffering from mental disorders. Research demonstrates the dangers of solitary on the mentally ill, but it only requires common sense to realize that restricting someone who is already disturbed to what is essentially a box for months will exacerbate their condition.
Additionally, the argument that solitary is only being used to increase institutional and public safety does not hold up. Mississippi has managed to substantially lower their solitary population, while seeing a decrease in prison violence and the rate of recidivism upon release. Additionally it is estimated that if Texas lowered their solitary incarceration rate to Mississippi’s 1.4 percent, they would save taxpayers $31 million a year.