Inside America’s Solitary Confinement For Kids
“Going in the Box, your mind just simply can’t take it”, says Ismael Nazario. He was locked alone in a 6 by 8 foot cell for 23 hours a day, a punitive measure that is linked to half of all suicides among detained teens. Human rights advocates such as the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, warn of the severe mental damage caused by subjecting young inmates to punitive segregation.
Yet prison staff like Norman Seabrook argue that it is the “only way” to enforce order and safely deal with violent inmates in a stretched jail system. But with reports that more than a quarter of young inmates on Rikers Island jail complex in New York City are being held in solitary confinement, including for minor infractions, many are questioning whether it really is the correct response.