Are prisoners' civil rights being needlessly violated by long-term solitary confinement?

April 2017

Deadly prison riots in the 1960s and 1970s spurred prison officials to clamp down on inmates and lock the ones they deemed the most dangerous in long-term solitary confinement. They built maximum security prisons like Pelican Bay in California to control and sequester these "worst of the worst."

There, thrown in the hole with no human contact and bleak surroundings, many are suffering psychological harm. Little is known about the effectiveness of solitary confinement, or of the long-term societal consequences. Keramet Reiter, assistant professor of criminology, law and society, spoke with Modern Law Library about her research into the conditions at Pelican Bay and the after-effects of solitary confinement -- and the reforms that would help legislators assess whether solitary is actually needed.

Listen to the podcast interview: