Imagine you are stripped naked, searched, given little clothing and placed in a room smaller than the average bathroom. All you have to look at are the stark white walls that surround you, if you re lucky. In other cases all that encompasses you is the rancid stench of feces, along with a variety of foods and liquids. What kind of games would your mind play on you? Paranoia, aggression, and depression are a few examples of the many symptoms that come as a result of solitary confinement (Sanders, 2001, par. 1). Paranoia afflicts a large number of people in varying degrees.
Solitary confinement contributes to this insanity by harassing the inmate and only intensifying over time. Prisoners may believe others are talking about him in negative ways, or calling his name out loud to purposely torment him. The individual may also begin to believe that the staff is intentionally targeting him for certain instances such as poisoning or medicating his food (Sanders, 2001, par. 2). A significant number of prisoners are dysfunctional to begin with, finding themselves in isolation throws them into turmoil and they do not know how to handle it. Actions such as this lead to a state of aggression.
The sensory deprivation attacks the senses, causing emotional and physical distress. It is a state to be understood as smothering thoughts and feelings. Unconsciously, the prisoner only reacts to the disorder, not understanding the process (Sanders, 2001, par. 4). Depression is the most commonly seen symptom of solitary confinement victims. It can become overwhelming and cause psychological chaos. It also results in physical deterioration such as massive weight gain due to lack of exercise. Unfortunately, suicidal victims are most ommonly found within the solitary ward as opposed to other areas of prison (Sanders, 2001, par. ).
After reading the examples, one may conclude that solitary confinement is a taste of hell. Experiencing symptoms such as paranoia, aggression, and depression can drive one insane. What concerns corrections experts is that some inmates are eventually released after going through such terror, which means many are going to be worse off than prior to the imprisonment (Tyre, 1998, par. 6). This poses the question: is solitary confinement really a cruel and unusual form of punishment, or is it needed for our growing world today?