Arguing Cause Project Plan Berkelman

The 8 by 10 Hell

Some inmates spend up to 23 hours a day in solitary confinement. While in solitary confinement, inmates are completely isolated from one another and are in a small 8 by 10 foot cell. This type of confinement restricts inmates' social interactions and causes inmates to develop many psychological problems. Humans are social creatures that require social interactions to survive. Denying the necessity of interaction from a social being causes serious psychological damage. This psychological damage greatly changes inmates and usually has a negative affect on them for the rest of their lives'. Sometimes the psychological damage is so severe that inmates commit suicide to escape from what some people consider to be inhumane torture. If this problem is not addressed, inmates will continue to experience this form psychological torture that can potentially lead them to suicide and a life of psychological distress. Due to the damaging psychological and catastrophic effects solitary confinement can have on inmates, regulations need to be put in place to make the process more humane and constitutional.

Solitary confinement was first used in the United States in Philadelphia. The idea originated from the Quakers in 1829. The Quakers believed that if a prisoner was kept in a stone cell with only a Bible they would, "Use the time to repent, pray and find introspection" (Sullivan). However, many of the prisoner went insane, committed suicide, or were unable to successfully function within society, so solitary confinement was rarely used. A U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Freeman Miller, discussed the conditions of the prisoners who experienced solitary confinement in Philadelphia and said,'A considerable number of the prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to arouse them, and others became violently insane; others still, committed suicide; while those who stood the ordeal better were not generally reformed, and in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of any subsequent service to the community' (Sullivan).

  • Is it clear what I mean exactly?
  • Where might the reader be confused? What could be misleading or muddled?
  • How does the claim(s) in this paragraph relate to my main claim?
  • What support have I used to argue this claim? What links this support to my claim? (for these last two, you can underline the support and make bold the linkage if it is explicitly stated. If the linkage is unstated, write it out in this quote box.)
  • I think this paragraph is pretty clear.
  • It is mostly quotes so I may want to add more to help them understand the quotes and provide my own words.
  • This paragraph is a historical background of solitary confinement.
  • For a support I used a quote from a Supreme Court Justice saying the condition of the inmates was very poor.

In 1983 a system of 23 hours of solitary confinement a day, was adopted in a prison for the first time. This happened in Marion, Illinois because two guards were murdered by inmates during two separate occasions. As a reaction to this, the warden put the prison in what he called a 'lock down' and required his inmates to be isolated in their cells for 23 hours a day. Many states followed Illinois and adopted this system, keeping their inmates isolate for 23 hours a day. This is just one example of an incident where the prison system failed, so why is solitary confinement still implemented and accepted in the prisons today?

  • Is it clear what I mean exactly?
  • Where might the reader be confused? What could be misleading or muddled?
  • How does the claim(s) in this paragraph relate to my main claim?
  • What support have I used to argue this claim? What links this support to my claim? (for these last two, you can underline the support and make bold the linkage if it is explicitly stated. If the linkage is unstated, write it out in this quote box.)
  • I think it is clear as far as what I am talking about.
  • The last sentence is confusing because I do not want to abolish is within prisons, just change it.
  • It is again more history, but also gives some insight about why it was formed in the first place.
  • It shows an example of when the prison system failed, due to under staffing, which I should apply to this paragraph.

One of the main reasons solitary confinement is used so often is to attempt to make prisons safer and keep fights and attacks at a minimum. Most of the inmates being kept in solitary confinement have expressed violent behavior in the prison, have committed violent crimes before, or have committed crimes that are frowned upon, like rape, domestic abuse or pedophilia, so it puts them in danger from other inmates. These types of inmates are typically isolated and put in solitary confinement because it is believed that if they interact with other inmates they will cause fights or other problems. Gordon believes solitary confinement is used to protect the public and prevent **prisoners from being repeat offenders (Gordon). It would help protect the public because solitary confinement is a stricter punishment than regular confinement. Therefore, people theorize that inmates are less likely to commit another crime once they are released because they do not want to go back to solitary confinement.

  • Is it clear what I mean exactly?
  • Where might the reader be confused? What could be misleading or muddled?
  • How does the claim(s) in this paragraph relate to my main claim?
  • What support have I used to argue this claim? What links this support to my claim? (for these last two, you can underline the support and make bold the linkage if it is explicitly stated. If the linkage is unstated, write it out in this quote box.)
  • I believe it is clear.
  • I could maybe specify or go into more depth about protection of the public etc.
  • It is a reason for having solitary confinement in our prisons.
  • An author bringing up the public and the safety of them being linked to solitary confinement.

Another reason for solitary confinement is under staffing in prisons. Compared to inmates, the guards who are working in the prisons are incredibly outnumbered. To protect the guards and help prevent what happened in 1983, solitary confinement has been used to keep violent prisoners away from each other and away from the guards. The low number of guards could have to deal with low funding and not being able to pay more guards. A lack of funding would make it difficult for prisons to be adequately staffed, causing them to use methods like solitary confinement to control their inmates and protect their guards.

  • Is it clear what I mean exactly?
  • Where might the reader be confused? What could be misleading or muddled?
  • How does the claim(s) in this paragraph relate to my main claim?
  • What support have I used to argue this claim? What links this support to my claim? (for these last two, you can underline the support and make bold the linkage if it is explicitly stated. If the linkage is unstated, write it out in this quote box.)
  • I think it is clear that it is discussing under staffing.
  • I don't think they would be confused, but I could add stats and facts about it.
  • It is another cause and reason for having solitary confinement.
  • Like I said, I need to find a support and links for this paragraph.

Arguing Cause Peer Review Berkelman

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