ACLU and Experts Slam Findings of DOC Report On Solitary Confinement
| Cataloged on:
Jul. 27, 2012
ANNOTATION: “The ACLU of Colorado and leading forensic psychology experts are questioning the findings of a report released by the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) on the psychological effects of solitary confinement. The report, titled “One Year Longitudinal Study of the Psychological Effects of Administrative Segregation,” concludes that solitary confinement does not cause mentally ill prisoners to get worse. The ACLU noted that this conclusion, which contradicts considerable previous research and prevailing expert opinion, also poses a danger of rationalizing the continued warehousing of seriously mentally ill prisoners in “supermax” conditions that impede treatment and improvement … Prior to publication, [Dr. Stuart Grassian] informed the researchers that their report contains several fatal flaws in methodology, particularly their decision not to analyze to data that contradicted their conclusions. DOC files record incidents of emergency psychiatric contacts (e.g. incidents of suicidal or self-destructive behavior). Among the prisoners in solitary confinement, there were almost two incidents for every three inmates (63%), as compared to less than one incident for every ten inmates (9%) in the general population. This objective data squarely contradicts the authors’ conclusion that solitary confinement does not produce significantly more psychiatric difficulties than does general prison housing. The authors simply declined to perform this straightforward statistical analysis, even after the oversight was explicitly pointed out.” (p. 1).