WASHINGTON – More than 122,000 people are held in solitary confinement in various prisons in the U.S.
A study released on Tuesday stated that more than 6% of the incarcerated population is the country’s multi-layered prison systems is in solitary confinement.
Solitary Watch, an advocacy group that compiled the numbers, said the widespread use of solitary confinement is a humanitarian crisis.
Jean Casella, director of Solitary Watch, said so far there had been no comprehensive figures on solitary confinement in the U.S.
“The widespread use of solitary confinement in our prisons and jails is a humanitarian crisis. As the United Nations has confirmed, it’s torture taking place on U.S. soil. Yet until now, we haven’t even had a comprehensive count of how many people are in solitary,” she said.
The figure includes people who spend 22 hours or more per day in solitary confinement. It does not include those held in solitary confinement in immigration or juvenile facilities.
According to Prison Policy Initiative – a research and advocacy group – there are 2 million people in various prisons in the U.S.
The multi-layered prison system in the U.S. includes 1,566 state prisons, 98 federal prisons, 3,116 local jails, 1,323 juvenile correctional facilities, 181 immigration detention facilities, and 80 Indian country jails, as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and detention centers in the U.S. territories.
Therefore, authors of the report stated that the number of solitary confinements may be higher as it was difficult to determine exact numbers due to these parallel systems.
“There is no single authority that collects the total, making it hard to develop a clear picture of the situation,” the authors said.
They said they have relied heavily on self-reporting.
“This kind of full and accurate information is critical to creating accountability and bringing about change,” added Casella.