Solitary confinement in the center of recent lawsuit

Many people in Louisiana may not consider the welfare of men and women once they are incarcerated. However, the welfare of prison inmates is a growing concern. A recent lawsuit highlights why some of the methods used in prisons are questioned and why the conditions of inmates are garnering attention.

Three inmates in a Louisiana jail are suing the prison over their placement in solitary confinement. All received death sentences at their trials; however, they have been kept in solitary confinement for at least 25 years. Their lawyer has stated that this falls under cruel and unusual punishment, particularly as less than 12 percent of prisoners on the state’s death row have been executed since their incarceration over 30 years ago. These inmates are three of 71 prisoners in the state currently contained in these conditions, and typically leave their cells only to phone family and shower.

The risks associated with solitary confinement are well-documented, as a psychologist recently interviewed these inmates and determined that their physical and mental health can be harmed by this kind of incarceration. Death row inmates in Louisiana are usually placed in this situation, which can continue for the duration of their stay. This is common for prisoners who have been sentenced to death; a minimum of 3,000 inmates are kept in solitary confinement in prisons across the country.

Families with loved ones in prison are naturally concerned about the treatment these family members receive. Those who suspect that someone might be abused or neglected may want to speak to an attorney to understand what they can do.

Source: The New York Times, "3 Men on Death Row in Louisiana Sue Over Solitary Confinement," Liam Stack, March 30, 2017

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