Project Proposal Berkelman

Part 1

Thesis: Due to the damaging psychological effects solitary confinement can have on inmates, regulations need to be put in place to make the process more humane and constitutional.

  • A large societal problem with the topic of solitary confinement is the idea of cruel and unusual punishment because the idea of holding someone in an isolated cell, denying them any form of communication, is debatable and has been called unethical and unconstitutional.
  • Causes:
    • used to separate prisoners
    • to isolate violent and aggressive prisoners
    • to prevent more violent activities from occurring within the prisons
    • to protect certain people from other inmates (child molesters, rapists)
    • helps guards control inmates
  • To solve the problem of solitary confinement prisons need to apply it correctly. Solitary confinement can be useful because it can separate the violent and aggressive from the other inmates to prevent fights and other problems within the system. However, many prisons do not apply it correctly. Many inmates spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, and that can continue for years. This kind of treatment and isolation causes great psychological damage and can be considered abuse. To keep solitary confinement in prisons, and to protect inmates in solitary confinement, it needs to have heavy regulations set in place. There needs to be a distinct time limit on how long an inmate can be kept in solitary confinement to ensure that they do not encounter psychological damage.

Part 2

  • The topic and thesis is challenging because there are many reasons for using solitary confinement, but also many effects. I will have to decide which is the most compelling reason for using it, and how to show the damage it causes.
  • The topic and thesis is compelling because solitary confinement has been an issue for quite some time. Also, it is still being looked into and researched. People are still very concerned with the issue and the psychological effects it can have.
  • It is debatable because some people so not see a problem with solitary confinement, while others consider it unconstitutional and demand a change. Also, some believe it should be abolished completely, some believe that it just needs to be reformed, and others believe there is not a problem with the system.
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