Solitary Confinement and Prisoners with Disabilities

Our blog has written on the use of solitary confinement, its impacts, and the efforts for prison reform many times.

To continue the discussion about this dark penal practice, here is a more recent report compiled and published by ACLU. It sheds the much needed light on the use and misuse of solitary confinement and prisoners with mental and physical disabilities.

This report provides a first-ever national ACLU account of the suffering prisoners with physical disabilities experience in solitary confinement. It spotlights the dangers for blind people, Deaf people, people who are unable to walk without assistance, and people with other physical disabilities who are being held in small cells for 22 hours a day or longer, for days, months, and even years.

Few statistics from the report:

  • “Nearly 50% of all suicides by incarcerated people are completed in solitary confinement.”
  • “Prisoners with disabilities are placed in solitary confinement even when it serves no penological purpose.”
  • “Approximately 80,000 to 100,000 people are held in solitary confinement in the U.S.”
  • “32% prisoners and 40% of jail detainees report having at least one disability.”
  • “Solitary confinement inflicts psychological and physical damage on human beings.”
  • “Prisoners with physical disabilities are placed into solitary confinement due to a lack of accessible cells.”


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