End Solitary Confinement in Prison

Solitary Confinement

Target: Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons Charles E. Samuels Jr.

Goal: End intensive solitary confinement in super-maximum prison ADX Florence

Amnesty International has deemed the treatment of inmates at super-maximum prison ADX Florence to be in violation of international law. The prison is the only federal super-maximum prison that subjects their inmates to prolonged solitary confinement, where the inmates inflict harm upon themselves or commit suicide to end their torment. The organization has deemed this treatment to be cruel and inhumane, and this practice needs to end immediately.

ADX Florence is located near Florence, Colorado, where inmates are confined to their cells for 22-24 hours a day for 12 months before their detention time is reduced. Unfortunately, this leads to psychological and physical problems. Inmates have shown symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia, extreme paranoia, psychosis, hypertension, and perceptual distortions. Some have even started to harm themselves or commit suicide.

ADX Florence houses 490 male inmates, and a study conducted by a lawyer found that the average length of time an inmate would stay in solitary confinement was 8.2 years. This is a staggering amount of time to be spent alone with no mental or physical stimulation. It is no wonder then that many of these inmates develop so many mental disorders. Furthermore, inmates are contained in a cell that have solid walls, and a barred air-lock style chamber in front of a metal door. This design is meant to keep the prisoners from interacting with each other. Inmates do have a small slot where they can see the sky or a brick wall.

While these inmates will probably stay in prison for the rest of their lives, this treatment is not humane, and forces their mental health to deteriorate. In 2013, an inmate who showed signs of psychosis hung himself in his cell after spending more than a decade in solitary confinement. The director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons needs to end solitary confinement in ADX Florence, as this treatment is in violation of international law, and does nothing to reform these prisoners.


Dear Director Charles E. Samuels Jr.,

Recently human rights organization Amnesty International stated that the treatment of prison inmates at ADX Florence is in violation of international law. The treatment is considered inhumane and cruel, as many inmates have developed mental illnesses from prolonged solitary confinement. Some have even started to harm themselves, or worse, commit suicide.

As a prison facility, you should be reforming these prisoners, or at least bettering themselves. Instead, this facility is doing the opposite. While I realize that many of these inmates have committed murder or terrorism crimes, we shouldn’t overlook our human rights principles. Cruel and inhumane treatment of a human being is prohibited by international law, and the United States has to adhere to this code of conduct.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Fairv8 via Wikimedia Commons

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