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Solitary Confinement: The Damaging Psychological and Physical Effects on Juveniles in Adult Prisons

In state prisons, the understanding of the legal rights of inmates is extremely limited. The concept of prisons is that the inmates and prisoners who are held within their walls committed a crime against society, and as such, the consequences assigned to them is the loss of their liberty and other rights as a result of their actions. However, where the line is drawn between fundamental rights guaranteed to inmates and fundamental rights that are not, is a hazy line, especially when the management of the prison population is based on subjective standards of the guards and wardens who patrol the inmates.

Solitary Confinement Under the Gun

Solitary confinement is under the gun currently as President Obama in July 2015 announced his suspicions regarding the detrimental effect that solitary confinement is having on the prison population. What has become more worrisome in Florida, in particular, is the increased use of solitary confinement on children and teenagers who have been placed in adult prisons as a result of direct files. In 2013, the Florida legislature pondered the introduction of a bill that would make solitary confinement inapplicable to juveniles that were in the adult systems, but the bill died months later with little to no discussion after its death.

The Extreme Effects of Solitary on Children and Adolescents

Recent studies have shown the extreme effects that solitary confinement can have on the inmate population, and in particular the devastating effects it has on juveniles caught in adult systems. Studies have shown that there is a high correlation between solitary confinement and suicide in prisons, and with an increased effect on children and adolescents. The suicide levels, however, are also especially high for children and adolescents who have been confined to adult prisons; it is estimated that child/adolescent suicide is two times higher than adults within the same prison system.

The Reason Why Prisons Use Solitary Confinement as A Tool

Children and adolescents are at increased psychological and physical risks because of the immature nature of their developing bodies. Children and adolescents have not reached the development landmarks by which to understand and adapt themselves to the situation that they are involved. Many times, children and adolescents are placed in solitary confinement to protect them from the adult population. Also, many times prisons use solitary confinement as a tool to deal with mental health issues that plague many of the children/adolescents within the prison population. Children/adolescents with mental health issues are twice as likely to be harmed by the ill psychological and physical effects of solitary confinement than their counterparts, thus making them an extremely vulnerable population.

Solitary Confinement in Florida

Prisoners in the Florida system are part of the largest prison population in the country. There are more adolescents under the age of 18 in the Florida system than any other state in the country. Solitary confinement in Florida can continue for months on end, the prisoners are in complete isolation, and prisoners are only able to leave confinement three times a week to shower. Only after a month in solitary confinement are they allowed to get an additional three hours of exercise a week. It also is one of the states that permits indefinite solitary confinement. In California, for example, 89 prisoners have been confined in complete isolation for more than 20 years. One man in the Louisiana State prison was in solitary for 40 years.

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

Solitary confinement can have a significant impact on the inmate experiencing it. An experienced criminal defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik, can advocate on your behalf during a criminal proceeding. Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.

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