Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hell Is a Very Small Place

Hell Is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement by Jean Casella (Editor), James Ridgeway (Editor), Sarah Shourd (Editor).  240 pages

This book contains firsthand accounts from people who have served time in solitary confinement, but also contains essays and information from experts on solitary confinement. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has denounced the use of solitary confinement beyond 15 days as a form of treatment that often rises to the level of torture. However, in the US, more than 8000 people may be held in isolation on any day.

This was an interesting and sobering read. The accounts here differ a little bit, but there are shared elements in all of them and it's really an eye-opening read. It's not always clear why some of these people have been placed in solitary confinement, but I found I really wasn't too curious -- to me, that wasn't the point. After reading this book, I wondered if solitary confinement is really a good solution, even if the crime committed is horrific.

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