The Science of Solitary Confinement | Science | Smithsonian


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In comparison to this cell, those used for solitary confinement often lack even a barred doorway, further limiting exposure to others. (Photo by Geof Wilson)

The Science of Solitary Confinement

Research tells us that isolation is an ineffective rehabilitation strategy and leaves lasting psychological damage

Picture MetLife Stadium, the New Jersey venue that hosted the Super Bowl earlier this month. It seats 82,556 people in total, making it the largest stadium in the NFL.

Imagine the crowd it takes to fill that enormous stadium. That, give or take a thousand, is the number of men and women held in solitary confinement in prisons across the U.S.

Although the practice has been largely discontinued in most countries, it’s become…

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