Michael Navascues: Reform solitary

March 2, 2013 

Reform solitary

It was refreshing to note George Will turning from his usual political diatribes in his recent fine article examining the extensive practice of solitary confinement (“Solitary’s torturous toll” Feb. 22), which has burgeoned in the U.S. prison system.

Many inmates spend months and often years in solitary confinement. This severe social isolation from other humans alters their brains, renders them more violence-prone, drives many to insanity and makes them unfit for rehabilitation. Long-term solitary confinement is, as Will points out, not only socially and economically costly in the extreme but constitutes cruel and unusual punishment: indeed, a form of torture. Curbing and reforming this barbaric practice is well overdue.

Michael Navascues, Chapel Hill

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