Solitary confinement leads to psychological damage
Virginia prison systems like others in the US utilize solitary confinement as a method to maintain control. Iin 2020 a study indicates that 55,000-62,000 inmates across the nation had spent the previous 15 days confined alone in jails and prisons. Correction officials have defended their actions by saying that this measure helps to keep gang violence down by confining prisoners to a small cell for 22-24 hours each day.
According to the Vera Institute solitary confinement can be harmful to mental health by leading to serious psychological damage that is lasting. Physical and social isolation, coupled with sensory deprivation and forced idleness, create a toxic combination.
Virginia may do away with solitary confinement
Solitary confinement in Virginia prisons is being revisited and may be banned according to WTOP NEWS. Virginia lawmakers are now considering bills that would ban the practice of putting prison inmates in solitary confinement for an extended period of time. Under the bills, inmates would be offered at least four hours per day outside of their cells.
In 2021, Virginia’s Department of Corrections announced it was discontinuing the practice and current bills would ensure the end of solitary confinement would become State law. "SB 887, was sponsored by Sen. Joseph Morrissey, a Democrat from Richmond, is headed to a floor vote next week. The bill specifies the following:
if a facility administrator determines the inmate needs to be placed in isolated confinement to prevent an imminent threat to the inmate or another person, the isolation should last no longer than 15 days.
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