California prisons' solitary units - necessary or inhumane?



Society is allowed to defend itself. So says the CCC (2267).

In former times, such people would receive capital punishment. Now, they get to spend decades locked in a refrigerator, having little or no contact with anybody, slowly losing any grip they have with sanity.

They say that this is better.


I’m sure if they put their minds to it. They could come up with a more humane solution to their problems with certain problem inmates.

To my mind, our entire system should be reworked.



We need to know more about how and why they are there. What is cruel and unusual punishment? It seems this could be but there’s not enough information for those of us uniformed.


Courts have decided that to meet constitutional criteria, the punishment must be BOTH cruel and unusual - solitary may be cruel, but is not unusual - it has been common for centuries.


Part if the issue is its been common for way to long. The problem is we’ve accepted cruel and unusual punishment as, well, usual.

“I think we all agree that it was far too easy to get in and too hard to get out,” said Martin Hoshino, undersecretary of operations at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.


The problem is that these inmates are usually placed in solitary because they are such a threat to others (and sometimes themselves)

Once a person is in custody of an agency that persons safety is the agency’s responsibility. If an inmate keeps fighting inmates or staff then the agency is responsible for the liability and any medical attention involved. Therefore if one inmate is continuously harming others then for the sake of the other inmates and staff that person must be isolated.

If you can think of another way to guarantee the safety of everyone involved let me know.

Also keep in your prayers those who work in Corrections, some of the most underappreciated and underpaid heroes in the country. They put their lives on the line everyday to keep society safe.

God bless them


View solitary as an opportunity for the condemned to reflect on his wrongs and make peace with Christ sans distraction.

If I had my way all prisons would be solitary; 24/7.

It would also eliminate assaults, rape, forging new criminal contacts, and learning new criminal tricks. Corrections budgets would be much reduced as well.


Ihumane. Pure torture. And the USA is the world leader in solitarys use. God have mercy on them and on the whole world.


This is one of the reasons I cannot support an absolutist position regarding capital punishment. It just does not seem like we have a real alternative that both protects others **and **is humane. Just this week, two inmates were killed by other inmates in a maximum security prison. The killers were not in solitary. Solitary would have protected the inmates that were killed but at what cost. There is mounting evidence that solitary confinement causes or exacerbates mental illness.

Short of a Clockwork Orange type solution, I am at a loss.


So what is the alternative for convicts who “can’t play nice in the sandbox”?

What is more just: separating a convict who has proven to be a threat to the safety of others in prison by putting him in solitary, OR, out of some idea that such a punishment is “inhumane” and “pure torture”, forcing them back into general population and putting other people’s life at risk?


Some principles have to be held to: the first being, society has the right to protect itself from those in its midst who have done harm to others. Once having taken custody of someone sent to prison, the state is responsible for that person’s safety. So again the same separation principle applies, the prison administrators have the obligation to separate those who would do harm from the rest, as well as those who would face the greatest threat of harm. Solitary confinement performs that function, but it does carry a side effect in that most men don’t handle it well over the long term. What to do … I don’t have any easy answers there.


I agree, something is wrong when it is 2015 and NO ONE has come up with a better solution to these problems, not even any suggestions??? we just keep doing the same old thing year after year, and wonder why statistics dont change, and people keep re-offending?! LOL


It’s interesting, some people would like to see us go back to having the penal islands.

This is an interesting area but I don’t have much knowledge on it, was Alcatraz a harsh place, the rock and then closed because there were a few prisoners that might have finally escaped it?


Alcatraz was closed because it became too expensive to maintain and operate. If you ever walk thru there (it’s a tourist attraction now), you could see that for yourself.


You are correct, though, I just happened to mention Alcatraz. I don’t know if it qualifies as what I was trying to think of, a “Penal Colony” and though the idea of bringing up a “Penal Colony” may sound a bit outrageous and antiquated, I think France or some other nation was considering bring it back.

Some would say the reason we continue having problems with crime is that we are not treating prisoners harshly enough.

We certainly don’t have the chain gangs of the past or… I take that back, they may exist in a mild form still but very few of them.

Fascinating discussion.

The old movies would show prisoners working in the old rock quarries and splitting rocks with hammers.


We could get into an endless discussion about the pros and cons of every type of incarceration and punishment for the convicted criminals. The reality is that unless anyone has actually ever been in prison as a prisoner or worked in a prison as a corrections officer or in any other capacity or know someone on the inside they cannot fathom what goes on inside the walls. You also cannot imagine the depths of evil of some of the inmates and the risk to those who staff the prisons.

I have two first cousins who worked in the Texas prison system. One was a farmer who needed extra income and one was a utility worker who was laid off due to economic climate in the early 90s.

Their stories would make your hair curl.

Most opinions on what should be done to the prison system have no basis in fact or understanding. The worst offenders are the ones who insist that the death penalty should never be used. The death penalty should be mainstream and used often.The occasional use of the death penalty is the reason it is not a deterrent.

Once a convicted murderer is dead they commit no more murders and hurt no one else.


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