George F. Will: Solitary confinement in U.S. prisons is inhumane and torturous

Published: Thursday, Feb. 21 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

In 1890, the U.S. Supreme Court said of solitary confinement essentially what Dickens had 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." Americans should be roused against this by decency — and prudence.

Mass incarceration is expensive (California spends almost twice as much on prisons as on universities) and solitary confinement costs, on average, three times as much per inmate as in normal prisons. And remember: Most persons now in solitary confinement will someday be back on America's streets, some of them rendered psychotic by what are called correctional institutions.

George Will's email address is georgewill@washpost.com.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS