The need for restrictive solitary confinement
A legal decision on illegal solitary confinement came too late for Faqiri, a racialized, mentally ill men, and his family. He was held in segregation while waited for transferring to the mental illness facility, his family was refused to visit during his detention, the disappointment of Faqiri’s death reached them, and the cause of death remains unknown after 12-month waiting. Not only Faqiri but also the amount of unnecessary death inside the isolated cell could be found, from a 19-year old juvenile Ashley Smith to Edward Showshoe who took his own life at the Edmonton Institutions. Since then, the significant adverse effect inmate, their family, and the society, the public started doubt prolong isolation for inmates as a punishment would be inappropriate. In this paper, I am going to discuss the use of protracted segregation in jails, should the government restrict the improper use of solitary confinement as a punishment in jails and prisons. In my perspective, I argue against the inappropriate use of prolonged solitary confinement, Canadian Correctional Institution should strike down the use of solitary confinement as a punishment due to its violation to the individual moral right, public health and safety and its cost of maximum money.
Solitary confinement refers to the housing of an adult and juvenile with the minimal to rare meaningful contact with outside. Canadian Correctional system called it as Administrative segregation, the period of isolation effectiveness left to the discretion of the warden (Attorney General of Canada) , from days, years to a decade, the baseline can be hardly defined. The US solitary confinement has a 200-year history, with the influence of the Enlightenment, activist reformer believed the solitude could promote the socially responsible. (Cloud, et al., 2015). The question for the inappropriate use of segregation began in the early 19th century, and in the 1970s, BC Penitentiary’s brutal Special Correction Unit (SCU) was challenged about their condition of the confinement. According to Parkes (2017), 8309 placements in administrative segregation in 2014 to 2015 fiscal year, and almost 48% inmates reported they were in separation at least once during their sentence. The Correctional center hid the report; they didn’t keep the reliable data for the public to know the average duration and condition insider the administrative segregation. Occasional news stories and the evidence found by prisoner advocates enable us to understand the necessary effect of the isolation. Only matter of the risk of recidivism and public safety, we should concern more about this issue.
The criminals should pay for what they did to the community but locking them with rare connection and support can make further disadvantage and more problem. I argue that the federal and provincial government and Correction Institution should restrict the use of the prolonged solitary confinement as a punishment for the vulnerable inmates for the following three reasons, the vast amount of economic cost, the violation of individual health and human right, the risk of recidivism for public safety.
Violation of Public Health
The World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations, and other international bodies have recognized that solitary confinement is harmful to health. Nearly all the researcher’s papers about solitary confinement over past 150 years suggested the physical and psychological damage to a person in the long period of isolation. (Cloud, et al., 2015). The condition of the cell limited with 60 to 80 square feet with a narrow window, steel door with a small slot for delivering meals. According to the several healthcare staff (Justice & Prevention, 2011) the inmates are shackled and accompanied by two officers for evaluation, they must remain in restraining with custody in proximity even taken the clinical medicine. Moreover, the unnecessary and excessive force is frequently used by Correctional stuff, from the pepper spray to the firearms (Correctional Service Canada), 1800 incidents of use of force and 22% increased use from 2014 to 2015. The excessive violence in disregard of their dignity destroyed the physical health and mental health. As the WHO (2014) stated, the harm includes, gastrointestinal and genitourinary problems, weight loss, diarrhea, and aggravation of pre-existing medical problems. Even the one has no history of the mental health will also have some psychological and physical dysfunction. The WHO (2014) claimed that this effect would last after the inmates were released. In the news of Frazier’s death (Spon, 2018), about 50 bruises were found on his body, and the family of Soleiman Faqiri wanted a reason and was fighting, pushing, resisting the system. The one is still a family member even if he or she did the worst, extraordinary things. The data from the Fact Sheet, in the three-month data collection in 2016, 38% Of individuals in segregation in Ontario with a mental health alert in their lives (Howard, 2017). Who will take care of these people after they are released from the jails, their families, and loved ones? Will the government provide the support or welfare for these families or even the people without families? The problem is not only related to the inmates but also the Correctional staff who work in the segregation units. According to Cloud et al. (2015), Correctional ofﬁcers are at risk for injury, and they endure some of the same conditions as the prisoners. Therefore, I think the solitary confinement is not only the problem of Correction, but the issue of the public health and physical damage brought more pressure to the families and society.
Violation of Public Safety
Correctional Institution should humanely treat inmates and prevent the potential future violation. However, the use of prolonged segregation didn’t lead to rehabilitation and social integration. They also failed to provide the education for the inmate’s Intersectional Analyst (2017). Access to the education and the violation training could be cheaper and more efficient than the active surveillance, but the Correctional service spent $ 111,202 for isolating a man and $2950 on his education, which evokes more anxiety for the prisoners re-enters the society. The scholar (Richmond, 2015) concluded what he found the psychological effect where the inmate was engaged in confused angry aggressive violent suicidal and otherwise troubling behavior, the most of them could not focus and shift the attention. They lost the ability to re-enter the society, and the community can be harder for them to survive. Professor Craig Haney studied the psychological effects of solitary confinement for over thirty years; he concluded that three-quarters of inmates experienced irritability and rage and regular contact lost with the family’s support will destroy a prisoner’s socially constructed identity. People may not care about the psychological health of inmates, but the significant effect will continue after the prisoners return to the society. This social deprivation would increase the rate of recidivism, and their rage threats the public safety. Cloud et al. (2015), also showed that prisoners who are released from segregation directly to the community re-offend more quickly. More than 60% of youths suicided while in correctional Institutions took place in solitary confinement (Justice & Prevention, 2011). Correctional Service Canada stopped producing the Annual Inmate Suicide Reports on suicides occurring each year within their facilities since 2011 (Office of the Correctional Investigator of Canada, 2014). In brief, the use of solitary confinement should be limited because it led to the more future problem, such as increased suicide rate and the higher risk of recidivism, which will threaten the public safety and violate the individual human right.
In the modern units, the solitary confinement uses the technology and electronic facilities to minimize in-person connection and increase the extent of custody. What will bring the concern of the Canadian tax payer to care more about the administrative segregation, it should be the average cost of $75,000 per prisoner (Keramet, 2016). From the 2014 report in the Montreal, Each prisoner in Canada’s 54 federal penitentiaries costs taxpayers $117,788. (Thibault, E. & Agency, Q., 2014). The news (2014) also reports the Federal Corrections spending reached a peak of $2.7 billion in 2013, which was $1.1 billion more than in 2002 to 2003. Moreover, the worst criminal will cost the government about $151,000 to keep he/she segregated. There is another name for the Toronto South Detention Centre; it has been called a one billion hellhole (Intersectional Analyst, 2017). The dual-earner in the family pay a significant amount of money for better child health care and welfare, the maximum money should not be used for the solitary confinement does not affect the rehabilitation. Considering the significant amount of money, the taxpayer should advocate the Correctional Institution to look for the less expensive and less restrictive option as the means of punishment.
People from the opposite side support the solitary confinement, they do not consider it was inhumane and unconstitutional. CBC reported the increase in violent attack as the use of solitary confinement became the illegal rule. According to Cloud et al.(2015), most of the people think the segregation is necessary for the violent, dangerous people who are considered as the worst in the worst. In fact, the majority in the isolation includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals; pregnant women; and people with infectious diseases. Intersectional Analyst (2015) also showed that e Indigenous incarcerated people are ten times more often than non-Indigenous people, Indigenous women represent more than 35 percent of the federal population of women prisoners, and the pregnant woman was also into the segregation. Between 2015 to 2016, the Black in the solitary confinement increases 70%. Solitary confinement contributes to the discriminatory because they are assigned to the administrative segregation because of their race, identity or perceive gang. Additionally, people argued that inmates broke the rules and orders of the jail, their violent behavior put other prisoners in danger. I have to say the prisons have lower accessibility for the public; we don’t honestly know if the ward implements the rules research also showed the inmates in segregation do not show the threat to other prisoner but only the behavior like smoking, talking bad or refusing to return the plate. (Cloud, et al., 2015). The Correctional Institution also explain the isolation is for the safety and protection of the inmates their own. Later, some prisoners argued that the officer put the mental illness and juvenile delinquency in separation for their convenient operation, and they will experience ignorance or humiliation. (Keramet, 2016). According to the reviews from Parkes (2017), the Mandela Rules prohibit the imposition of indefinite or prolonged solitary confinement challenged the Canadian Federal prison. The Attorney General of Canada argues that the use of administrative segregation is different from the solitary confinement defined in the rule in many foreign jurisdictions. (Parkes, 2017). However, Parkes (2017) examined the term and reported the Mandela Rules said solitary confinement is an umbrella term for the real lives and behaviors in the jail. Therefore, what is matter is the conditions of the prison not the use of names. The claims for the Attorney General could be interpreted as the prisoners in administrative segregation, and other forms of isolation in Canada are experiencing the solitary confinement. The opposite lace of supportive reasons and evidence for the solitary confinement to be utilized and we should advocate for the prohibition of the use of solitary confinement with sufficient evidence.
I think the administrative segregation need effectual reformation; the Federal government should restrict the use of prolonged solitary confinement as a punishment particularly for the more vulnerable prisoners. Considering the effect of segregation is not only on individuals but also on their families and their communities, more people should have awareness and concern on the continued isolation in prisons. Briefly, I think the solitary confinement should be stricken down because it threatens the public health and safety, it also cost maximum money. As the American Correction Health Center suggested, an administrative method should maintain the health and security of inmates and the solitary confinement should use only as exceptional when less restrictive practices cannot be found. (Richmond, 2015). The government should also apply the appropriate educational program for the prisoners and the medical transition to other facilities to the inmates with mental illness.
ACLU Foundation. (2014). Worse than second-class: Solitary confinement of women in the United States. Retrieve from: https://www.aclu.org/report/worse-second-class-solitary-confinement-women-united-states
CBC News. (2016, December 21). ‘Why did Soleiman die?’ Family of mentally ill man who died in Ontario jail says system failed them. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/soleiman-faqiri-inmate-death-ontario-1.3906253
Cloud, D. H., Drucker, E., Browne, A., & Parsons, J. (2015). Public health and solitary confinement in the United States. American Journal of Public Health. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2014.302205
Howard, J. (2017). Fact Sheet. John Howard Society of Ontario. Retrieved from http://johnhoward.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Solitary-Confinement-FactSheet-Final.pdf
Intersectional Analyst (2017, July 20). Everything You Were Never Taught about Canada’s Prison Systems. Intersectional Analyst. Retrieved from: http://www.intersectionalanalyst.com/intersectional-analyst/2017/7/20/everything-you-were-never-taught-about-canadas-prison-systems
Justice, J. & Prevention, D. (2011). Conditions of Confinement Findings From the survey of youth in residential Placement. Ncjrs.gov. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/227729.pdf
Keramet, R. (2016). The social cost of solitary confinement. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/4540112/the-social-cost-of-solitary-confinement.
Lindquist, C. (2000). Social integration and mental well-being among jail inmates. Sociological Forum, 15(3), 431-455. doi:431 0884-8971/00/0900-0431$18.00/0
Office of the Correctional Investigator of Canada (2014, September 10). A Three Year Review of Federal Inmates Suicide. The Correctional Investigator Canada. Retrieved from http://www.oci-bec.gc.ca/cnt/rpt/pdf/oth-aut/oth-
Parkes, D. (2017). Solitary confinement, prison litigation, and the possibility of a Prison abolitionist lawyering ethic. Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 32(2), 165-185. https://doi.org/10.1017/cls.2017.16
Prisons and health. (2014). World Health Organization. Retrieve from: http://www.who.int/en/
Position statement: Solitary confinement (Isolation). (2016). Journal of Correctional Health Care, 22(3), 257–263. https://doi.org/10.1177/1078345816654233
Report of the attorney general’s National task force on children exposed to violence. (2012). Department of Justice. Retrieve from: https://www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood/cev-rpt-full.pdf
Richmond, R. C. (2015). Toward a more constitutional approach to solitary confinement: The case for reform. Policy Essay, 52, 1-16. Retrieve from: http:\\jciprod01\productn\H\HLL\52-1\HLL107.txt.
Spon. (2018, January 5). A Broken System is Harming Those with Mental Illness. Social Policy in Ontario. Retrieved from: http://spon.ca/a-broken-system-is-harming-those-with-mental-illness/2018/01/05/
The high cost of solitary confinement (2017, September 17). Solitarywatch.com. Retrieved from http://solitarywatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/fact-sheet-the-high-cost-of-solitary-confinement.pdf
Thibault, E. & Agency, Q. (2014). Federal Inmate Cost Soars to $117Gs Each Per Year. Toronto Sun. Retrieved from http://torontosun.com/2014/03/18/federal-inmate-cost-soars-to-177gs-each-per-year/wcm/bad4ba76-735d-4b63-8a07-3f4f95e69fc4