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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 97393 Find in a Library
Title: Solitary Confinement Is Not Cruel and Unusual Punishment People Sometimes Are!
Journal: Canadian Journal of Criminology  Volume:26  Issue:4  Dated:(October 1984)  Pages:467-478
Author(s): P Gendreau; J Bonta
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This paper reviews empirical evidence of the effects of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons.
Abstract: Experimental studies that have examined the effects of solitary confinement for up to 10 days and retrospective studies have found few debilitating effects on inmates. Kingston Penitentiary studies demonstrated that prison solitary confinement produces some effects consistent with the sensory deprivation literature. Much research has been conducted on 7-14 day sensory deprivation in environmental situations similar to prison solitary confinement. Few negative effects were found. Even for the most severe conditions, tolerance is surprisingly high. In prison studies of solitary confinement for periods up to 10 days, prisoners apparently cope well. Most segregated inmates complain more about their treatment by staff than the physical isolation of solitary confinement. Additional studies should systematically examine samples of inmates for any signs of deterioration resulting from solitary for 10-days or longer. Studies should also identify the characteristics of those at risk of being damaged by solitary confinement. The amount of staff petty mistreatment of inmates in solitary should also be assessed. Forty-nine references are listed.
Index Term(s): Canada; Effects of imprisonment; Literature reviews; Solitary confinement
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