Target: U.S. President Barack Obama
Goal: Stop the practice of double-celling inmates in solitary confinement.
In an effort to combat overcrowding, many federal and state prisons have begun placing two inmates in cells built to accommodate only one. Since the implementation of this practice, there have been many instances of inmates murdering one another in these extremely cramped cells. Forcing inmates to live together in such claustrophobic quarters is dangerous and inhumane, and prisons need to stop this system immediately.
Solitary confinement is a practice that has become a major point of contention. Both the pope and the United Nations classify it as torture as it can cause lasting psychological and emotional damage. This new system of placing two inmates together in a solitary confinement cell is called double-celling, and it only adds to the stress and discomfort of solitary imprisonment, as now inmates have to endure extremely tight living quarters with someone who may be very mentally ill or dangerous.
Craig Haney, a psychologist, believes that double-celling is a combustive situation because feelings of frustration and anger that are already caused by living in isolation can be exacerbated by having to maneuver around a stranger for 24 hours a day. Unsurprisingly, this system has resulted in the murders of many inmates by their cellmates. In addition to increasing violence in prisons, double-celling is likely making it even harder for inmates to rehabilitate or successfully re-enter society because enduring such terrible living conditions can be extremely traumatic.
As of now, at least 18 states practice double-celling, and roughly 80 percent of federal prisoners who are in solitary confinement are forced to live with a cellmate. This is quickly becoming a cruel, systemic practice that is hardly discernible from torture, and it is essential that steps be taken to cease double-celling in all prisons. Please sign the below petition to demand the end of this inhumane practice.
Dear President Obama,
I am writing to request that you make every effort to stop all prisons in the U.S. from double-celling inmates who are in solitary confinement. Double-celling is an inhumane system that places two inmates in a cell that was only intended to house one individual. These extremely cramped quarters are obviously creating an extremely dangerous and cruel situation as many inmates have been murdered by their cellmates.
Craig Haney is a psychologist who has spent many years studying the psychological impacts of living in solitary confinement. He believes that double-celling is a recipe for disaster as feelings of frustration and anger that are already likely when living in isolation can be exacerbated when inmates are forced to live and maneuver around a possibly dangerous stranger for 24 hours a day. These disturbing living conditions are leading to increased murders of inmates by other inmates, in addition to some inmates attempting self-harm in an effort to be placed on suicide watch so that they can temporarily escape their cramped living conditions.
Solitary confinement is already considered torture by both the pope and the United Nations, and yet in the U.S. we are double-celling inmates in solitary, which is only adding to the inhumanity of solitary confinement. It is abhorrent that we are allowing this system to be practiced in our nation’s prisons, and it needs to be stopped before it becomes an even more systemic problem. Please make every effort to require all prisons to cease the double-celling of their inmates.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Thomas