Prison violence, it turns out, is not simply an issue of a few belligerents. In the past thirty years, the United States has quadrupled its incarceration rate but not its prison space. Work and education programs have been cancelled, out of a belief that the pursuit of rehabilitation is pointless. The result has been unprecedented overcrowding, along with unprecedented idleness—a nice formula for violence. Remove a few prisoners to solitary confinement, and the violence doesn’t change. So you remove some more, and still nothing happens. Before long, you find yourself in the position we are in today. The United States now has five per cent of the world’s population, twenty-five per cent of its prisoners, and probably the vast majority of prisoners who are in long-term solitary confinement.
Dr. Atul Gawande, a US surgeon and journalist for the New Yorker in 2009 (See his full article: Hellhole, New Yorker, March 2009)
The Prison Inside the Prison: Control
Units, Supermax Prisons, and Devices of Torture.
A Justice Visions Briefing Paper. American Friends Service Committee 2003 by Rachael Kamel and Bonnie Kerness
This booklet by Bonnie is from 2003 but is still relevant. Bonnie has been one of the leaders in the field of looking at long-term isolation and identifying it as torture.
Buried Alive: Long-Term Isolation in CA Youth and Adult Prisons. May 2008 American Friends Service Committee publication.
by Laura Magnani.
Report on California Department of corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) over-use and misuse of isolation units, with six recommendations for change.