WASHINGTON — A report released this week by the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonpartisan nonprofit based in New York, provides yet more evidence of the misuse of solitary confinement. The researchers add to a growing body of evidence that the practice of housing inmates in stark, small cells for, on average, 23 hours a day is not just widespread but being applied to non-violent inmates. They found that inmates can be put in solitary, or segregation, for just about any infraction.
“Disruptive behavior — such as talking back, being out of place, failure to obey an order, failing to report to work or school, or refusing to change housing units or cells — frequently lands incarcerated people in disciplinary segregation,” according to the report.
The unlucky inmates, the report states, are sometimes referred to as “nuisance prisoners.” In some facilities, these prisoners can be the majority of those in solitary. The researchers highlight three states’ confinement data as examples: