Solitary confinement is a form of segregation in which people are held in total or near-total isolation in small cells for 23 hours a day. It is used to control and discipline detainees in federal and state prisons, local jails, and immigration and national security detention facilities. Unlike incarcerated prisoners, immigration and national security detainees are held not as punishment for a crime but as a preventive measure, and will likely never be charged with a crime. For these people, solitary confinement then becomes entirely punitive, with dire consequences for their mental and physical health.
Immigrants in detention facilities around the United States are often subjected to punitive and long-term solitary confinement and denied meaningful avenues of appeal, according to an investigation by PHR and Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC).
Physicians for Human Rights urges members of Congress to work towards ending the use of solitary confinement in all facilities under federal jurisdiction, including federal prisons, immigration detention facilities, and national security detention facilities, in all but the most extreme cases.
PHR's testimony by Dr. Scott Allen based on important findings from the groundbreaking report, “Punishment Before Justice: Indefinite Detention in the US,” was submitted by Senator Dianne Feinstein at a crucial Senate hearing on indefinite detention.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) condemned today President Barack Obama’s signing of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 (NDAA). On the eve of 2012, President Obama signed the NDAA into law, making military indefinite detention in America permanent. Although the President’s signing statement expressed “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement applies only to the current administration and does not impact how future administrations interpret the law.