Target: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
Goal: Stop putting juveniles in psychologically damaging solitary confinement in federal prisons
Currently, prison officials have the ability to put juvenile delinquents in solitary confinement for as long as the official deems necessary. However, to teenagers’ developing brains, 23 hours of isolation per day can create intense mental damage in a variety of ways. A collection of regulations called The United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty – which America supports – expressly prohibits solitary confinement of juveniles. Tell U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to stop this practice which mentally cripples juveniles and goes against the rules the U.S. supports.
Being isolated in a prison for 95% of the day is harmful even to adults. For a teenager’s still-developing brain, it is incredibly damaging. Long-term psychological and emotional effects can include paranoia, rage, fear, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide. Teenagers are 19 times more likely to kill themselves when isolated, rather than being held with the general prison population.
Beyond the harmful psychological and emotional effects, there is the point that these confinements are being ordered by U.S. prison officials, despite the fact that the U.S. clearly supports the rules laid down by the United Nations which forbids solitary imprisonment of juveniles. While creating the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, the nations determined solitary confinement was too likely to have dangerous effects due to the teenager’s developmental vulnerability.
Putting teens in solitary confinement ultimately does more harm than good. Prison is the place where there is supposed to be a program of rehabilitation, where those who are released are able to better contribute to society than they could before they entered the system. Having juveniles in solitary confinement is creating long-lasting damage, releasing them in worse shape than they were before, ultimately defeating one of the large purposes for why they were imprisoned in the first place. One of the worst things about this situation? Teens who have not been convicted but cannot afford bail can be put in solitary while awaiting a trial, and can also be placed there if there is no space in the general population area, meaning they are isolated for no reason other than lack of beds.
Urge the U.S. General Attorney Eric Holder to end prison officials’ ability to put juveniles in solitary confinement. It is a psychologically and emotionally damaging situation which ultimately does much more harm than help for imprisoned teenagers. Sign the petition below to say no to this practice.
Dear U.S. General Attorney Eric Holder,
It has come to my attention that juveniles within the federal prison system are being put into solitary confinement. Not only does this defy the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, which America supports, but it is also quite damaging to a teen’s overall mental state.
Since a teenager’s brain is still undergoing development, being confined in a room without even a book for 23 hours per day can cause a wide range of long-lasting psychological and emotional consequences. It includes, but is not limited to, rage, paranoia, depression, anxiety, and suicide. These harmful results mean the teen is leaving the prison in worse shape than when they entered, which is the exact opposite of what should be happening.
Please put a stop to this practice, especially as it is even happening to those who have not even been to trial yet and are unable to raise bail money. Help prevent these damaging effects by ending the allowance of solitary confinement for teenagers.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: image via jakemanlaw.com