As reported here last summer, a controversial state study suggesting no harmful psychological effects from solitary confinement was drawing heated protests from prison activists even before it was published. Now that it's been released, psychiatric experts and the ACLU of Colorado are saying the report is just -- well, crazy.
Can life in lockup be good for you? The Colorado Department of Corrections thinks so.
After studying and testing close to 250 inmates confined to administrative segregation (that's prison-speak for "the hole") at the state supermax and elsewhere over several months, researchers found little or no deterioration in the subjects' mental state as a result of their isolation. In fact, "there was initial improvement in psychological well-being across all study groups," regardless of whether the prisoners were mentally ill or not at the time they were sent to ad-seg.
The findings are at odds with most of the scientific literature on the effects of solitary, which has prompted respected researchers -- including Stuart Grassian, a pioneer at Harvard in studying the issue -- to question the study's methodology and omissions. In this broadside from the ACLU, psychiatrist Terry Kupers calls the study "so deeply flawed that I would consider the conclusions almost entirely erroneous."
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Thursday, December 02, 2010