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Solitary Confinement

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013

The death this week of Herman Wallace, released after more than 40 years in the Secure Housing Unit of Angola State Prison in Louisiana, highlighted the issue of long-term solitary confinement in the American penal system.  A 2005 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found 81,622 people held in solitary, many for years or even decades.  Reform advocates have called the conditions and length of this form of imprisonment cruel and unusual punishment.

SCU Professor of Law Ellen Kreitzberg visited the Ethics Center this week for a discussion on solitary confinement and whether it violates the constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.  Kreitzberg created and directs the University's Death Penalty College.