Wednesday, March 04, 2015

80,000 human beings entombed; it is not just Guantanamo

As of 2013, there were 80,000 men and women in solitary confinement in the United States, some of them as young as 14 years old. In this illustrated op-ed video, artist Molly Crabapple explains the psychological and physical trauma suffered by those forced to spend 22-24 hours a day alone — sometimes for arbitrary reasons, like reading the wrong book, or having the wrong tattoo — in a grey, concrete box. (According to the U.N. 15 days in solitary is torture.) “There is no limit to how long someone can be held in solitary confinement,” says Crabappple. “And very little evidence is needed to justify holding a person in solitary indefinitely.”

This video is well done. I searched for statistics about the racial breakdown of the people in solitary. There don't seem to be any easily accessible. That's not surprising. These hellholes continue because most of us don't know about them. The closest I could come to information on race was an article by law professor Margo Schlanger, who finds over-representation of people of color in the rare cases she could surface reliable data.

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