UN: Solitary Confinement Amounts to Torture
Isolation longer than 15 days should be banned, says lead investigator
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2011 11:35 AM CDT
A juvenile Iraqi detainee stands in a solitary confinement cell outside at the Camp Cropper detention center September 19, 2007 in Baghdad, Iraq.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Solitary confinement doesn't just sound like torture—it literally can be torture, according to the UN's lead investigator on the topic. Juan Mendez has called for a ban on solitary confinement in excess of 15 days, and a total ban on the practice when juveniles or people with mental disabilities are concerned. Speaking to a UN General Assembly human rights committee, Mendez referenced studies that found negative physical and mental effects from spending just a few days in solitary confinement.

"Segregation, isolation, separation, cellular, lockdown, Supermax, the hole, secure housing unit ... whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by states as a punishment or extortion technique." Mendez pointed a finger at China for keeping a woman in isolation for two of the eight years she was sentenced to serve. As for the US, he noted it's estimated that as many as 25,000 convicts are in solitary confinement, reports the BBC.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
UN: Solitary Confinement Amounts to Torture is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 19 comments
Oct 20, 2011 2:22 AM CDT
Not surprising that the USA has more people in solitary than China.
Oct 19, 2011 12:23 PM CDT
bwa ha ha ha ha,would love to see Juan Mendez try and enforce the 15 day solitary in China.what a stupid jerk off,and he gets paid for sat thinking up this shit?
Oct 19, 2011 12:20 PM CDT
Hardly a new piece of information Charles Dickens noted the same thing about Eastern State Prison (Pa) when he visited the US, before the Civill War.