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Solitary confinement and Supermax Prisons: A Human Rights and Ethical Analysis

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice Volume: 11 Issue: 2-3 Dated: March - June 2011 Pages: 151-183
Sharon Shalev, LLM, Ph.D.
Date Published
April 2011
33 pages
This paper presents an ethical analysis the effects of solitary confinement and the use of supermax prisons on human rights.
This article examines how the prolonged solitary confinement and additional deprivations in supermax prisons measure up against legal protections afforded to those deprived of their liberty. It suggests that if the prohibition against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment were to be taken at face value, supermax confinement would meet the definition of what constitutes such treatment, and urges the courts to re-examine their position regarding supermax confinement. It also suggests that health professionals are well placed, and ethically bound, to play a more active part in efforts to curtail the use of prolonged solitary confinement in all places of detention. (Published Abstract)