TheU.S. is the leading country worldwide in terms of prison populationand second to Seychelles when it comes to per-capita incarcerationrate. Since the embrace of imprisonment as the main form of criminalpunishment in the U.S. just before the American Revolution, therehave been concerns regarding the harsh treatment to incarceratedpersons. As expected, violent and dangerous criminals should betreated differently from other criminals, and the U.S. prison systemhas accomplished this through solitary confinement(Cockrell, 2013).This essay examines a video on the situation in the U.S. prisonsystem with a specific focus on solitary confinement as the main formof punishment for dangerous criminals and the challenges faced.
Oneof the key lessons from the video is that the objective of the U.S.prison system is to correct and rehabilitate criminals. The objectiveis achieved through various ways one of them being solitaryconfinement. Solitary confinement is a form of punishment wheredangerous, violent, and unstable criminals considered a threat toprison staff and other inmates are put in isolation cells fordurations dependent on whether they embrace good behavior or not. Inthe U.S. prison system, it is estimated that 80,000 prisoners are insolitary confinement. However, since 2011, there has been asignificant decrease in the number of inmates in solitaryconfinement, especially at the Maine State Prison, where their numberhas fallen by 50 percent (Solitary Nation, 2014). In most cases, thisform of punishment elicits negative reactions from inmates in U.S.prisons. Some of these reactions include acting out or assaultingprison officers and self-abusive behavior where those in solitaryconfinement cut themselves with razor blades. Unfortunately, the U.S.prison system considers self-harm a punishable offense that attractsmore time in solitary. The greatest dilemma in the U.S. prison systemis whether to abolish solitary confinement. This is because leavinginmates in solitary for long periods discourages them more and movingthem out of solitary is also seen as a threat to people, especiallyother inmates and prison staff. Of course, the U.S. prison system hasmade strides towards addressing the concerns regarding solitaryconfinement. For instance, inmates in solitary cells are oftenrewarded for doing their classes and exhibiting good behavior bybeing taken to other cells or being allowed to leave their cells fora few hours (Solitary Nation, 2014).
Theinformation in the video is crucial as it makes people understand thesituation in the prison system in the U.S. By highlighting the numberof solitary inmates in the prison system in the U.S., explores thechallenges faced in solitary confinement, and some of the steps takentowards addressing these challenges, the information is undoubtedlyan important source for the paper focusing on the state of the U.S.prison system.
Tosum up, despite being used widely in the U.S. prison system as themain form of punishment for violent or dangerous criminals, solitaryconfinement results in more of self-harm than rehabilitation ofcriminals. As seen in the video, solitary confinement discouragescriminals leading to them harming themselves. The step taken by theU.S. prison system to reward criminals in solitary cells with goodbehavior by allowing them to leave their cells for a few hours or bytaking them to other cells is commendable.
Cockrell,J. F. (2013). Solitary confinement: The law today and the wayforward. Law& Psychol. Rev.,37,211.
SolitaryNation. (April 22, 2014). Retrieved March 26, 2017, fromhttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/solitary-nation/#prison-state