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Is Solitary Confinement a Bad Thing?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/19/2015 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,385 times Debate No: 68551
Debate Rounds (4)
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1.Solitary confinement is the isolation of a prisoner, who has done a wrongful act within the sentence.
2.Men are social creatures, and by nature we need interaction.
3.Basic needs are being taken under solitary confinement. For instance basic needs such as vitamin D (sun/light), interaction, movement, etc.
4.While under solitary, a prisoner may have prevented harm in order of protection, i.e. the prisoner should not be placed in isolation, rather in protected custody.
5.There are altercations to avoiding the "hole". Certain methods could be applied.
6.Placing a negative on solitary confinement only increasing the prison to feel more dominating than the other prisoners.
7.Solidarity is good at certain times; however, one cannot go more than 24 hours without human interaction.
8.With over crowding of prison, space along with funding is important and should be at a minimum.
9.Overall, trapped behind a cage is likely to change an individual. Not only is it moralizing, but also it is not 100% progressive.

Controversial premises
2 may is an objective claim; however, we are not so sure if it remains true. 4 Could be classified of what is just, and how far one could go with self-defense. 6 is questionable, we do not know if it"s the case that one builds character while being in the box.

1 is my definition and it seems like a strong claim. 3 there are certain limitations to what we do need for survival, and vitamin D is one of them. 7 agreeing that solitary is good for certain reason, there is personal evidence that suggest that we need interaction. 8 over crowding is a struggle especially within our country, no one can argue that it is a good thing.


Premise 1: I agree with your definition of solitary confinement. However, I believe it is limited. Solitary confinement could be used to isolate a person whose crime was so heinous, there safety would be threatened in general population, (i.e., the rape and murder of dozens of children). I think it should also be included that individuals are placed in solitary confinement for the protection of themselves and the prison population. The amount of time these people spend in solitary confinement is also useful to the definition.

Premise 2: I agree with this.

Premise 3: The basic needs provided in this premise are not necessary being taken away from the inmate. Although the interaction is limited, there is interaction between the inmate and the correction officers. Vitamin D can be provided through vitamin tablets, which are provided if the vitamin deficiency is enough to cause serious harm to the inmate. Inmates in solitary confinement are legally required to have at least one hour of exercise in which movement is provided.

Premise 4: Could you please elaborate further on this? I am not sure I fully understand what is meant through this premise.

Premise 5: Could you provide other methods you feel would be more effective of dealing with the inmates placed in solitary confinement? Often times, these are the worst of the worst inmates where very little can be done to rationalize with them.

Premise 6: I am not sure what is trying to be said here.

Premise 7: It is entirely possible for a person to go 24 hours without human interaction. With regards to solitary confinement, the inmates, as mentioned before, have interaction with the correction officers.

Premise 8: I agree with this statement, but the answer is not to end solitary confinement. This issue can be addressed with better policing and by ceasing the criminalization of petty non-violent crimes, (i.e., possession of small amounts of marijuana, etc.)

Conclusion: "Trapped in a cage" is a bit excessive for the purposes of this argument. Solitary confinement is a method of rehabilitation. These men are in solitary confinement for a reason. They are placed in a room with a toilet, at times a shower. In certain facilities, the inmate are allowed to read books.
Debate Round No. 1


1.For starters, I agree with your statement, as well as time being the issue of solitary. However, (since I have no choice because I"m being graded on this) I"m going to question your defense when stated, "I think it should also be included that individuals are placed in solitary confinement for the protection of themselves and the prison population". This is a thought, your personal thought. It may be the case that solitary confinement protects individuals and the prisoner, but it also may be the case that it doesn"t. I"m sure solitary confinement was created on that bases, but there gives me no reason to believe that solitary confinement ends violence.
3.Fair enough that we can you can get your daily nutrition"s through a pill, but I was just making a point. There are verity of ways to pass time; however, in solitary confinement. This may cause an increased paranoia, claustrophobia, and anxiety.
4.From what its known prison is set up by race and culture. In addition there are tensions between individual and class. That being the case, a prisoner may have attacked another prisoner based on self-defense. This act of aggression can be misread as assault, causing the defense victim to be treated as a criminal. For all intense and purpose, instead of placing him in solitary confinement, seek another method to place him"protected custody?
5.For starters, why not counseling. Psychotherapy could be a legitimate method in helping with aggression. Secondly, encouraging more sports and "free time" so to speak (of course these are thoughts).
6.Overall, when putting negative onto something what usually becomes the case is: people see it as a negative. In result, they draw back. When putting a negative on "solitary"; defenders tend to grow rigid and act in defense. Causing what could be riots.
7.True. Have you gone 24 hours without speaking to anyone?

It Violates Those Basic Human Rights. This condition actually fits the meaning of torture as stated in various international human rights treaties, thereby constituting human rights violation. For instance, the UN Convention Against Torture mainly defines torture as act by which suffering or severe pain, whether mental or physical, is intentionally inflicted on an individual for intimidation, punishment, information or for reasons that are based on discrimination


Premise 1: I understand your hesitation towards presenting this statement in your definition.

Premise 3: After how long do you predict this symptoms start to rise? It seems in this case, we are referring to extended period of time in solitary confinement. Perhaps, a solution could be shorter periods of confinement, rather than the removal of this form of rehabilitation entirely.

Premise 4: This is true. However, deceitful inmates may begin to claim self defense in order to avoid the repercussions of their malicious actions. How will we be able to distinguish the two?

Premise 5: Agreed, but what if these methods do not work on all inmates? Do you believe solitary confinement should be avoided at all costs?

Premise 6: Any type of punishment or rehabilitation that makes the aggressor or poorly behaved individual be alone and/or reflect on his or her thoughts is seen as negative, (i.e. when children are put into time out). Although, time outs are better and less harmful than getting a spanking, it is still seen as negative. This may be true for solitary confinement.

Premise 7: I believe I have; this may be subjective. Monks, however, are known to spend months without speaking to people. In fact, as part of the initiation process, monks are required to spend a month alone, without speaking to anyone. As part of hazing in fraternities and sororities, the new members are often forced to stop communication with all people, even family.
Debate Round No. 2


1.My hesitation? Whaaat!? Drama.
There is no hesitation; I just wanted to add more information that I believed was missing. Also, I need to add more I am doing now.
2.True, you make a good point, shortening the sentence could make a difference. Following this, it seems to me that you are coming off concerned. You obviously have a solution in not creating insanity. In fact, you even prefer that we shorten the sentence, which therefore would reduce psychosis.
3.There are methods in claiming one insane (or incompetent). We can follow these studies and distinguish one from the other. If one is so called insane, then they should be placed in a special unit. However, if one "claims" insanity, again, let"s use past research to determine valid or not.
4.It goes without saying, "things take time". Not everything works from the start, but it doesn"t hurt trying. So be it, if it doesn"t work, at least it"s a method we know wont work. This is just one out of thousands.
5.Okay, that"s solid. But not everyone can see the benefit it reflection. To them they act for their own pleasure, not for others. By forcing one in isolation can see it as a negative rather than a positive.
6.Totally. But you"re speaking on religion, about a group. Monks would not be in jail to begin with (they"re pacifist). Monks have no correlation to prisoners. The likeliness that a Monk would be in jail, let alone in solitary confinement is slim. Following this, hedonism is practice that takes a lifetime to practice; there is no way one can being while behind bars.


Addressing Point 1: Your enhanced character is duly and rightfully noted.

Addressing Point 2: For the purposes of my argument, my sole concern maintenance of solitary confinement. If slight reformation of this form of rehabilitation is needed in order to maintain it, it will be addressed.

Addressing Point 3: In this point I was speaking in regards to Premise 4, in which you were making the argument that some inmates may be placed in solitary confinement because they might have been acting in self defense. Referencing my last point, how would we know if someone actually acted in self-defense, which is less testable.

Addressing Point 4: The question remains, do you want to end solitary confinement at all costs? Can you find any benefits to solitary confinement?

Addressing Point 5: Agreed.

Addressing Point 6: I also included people in fraternities and sororities that forced to the same conditions when they are pledging. Certain people prefer to live in isolation and they cannot be discounted.
Debate Round No. 3


In conclusion, I"d like to readdress the problems of solitary confinement: 1. It is inhuman. Throughout or discussion you made some valid points; overall the problem should be dealt with a matter of concern, as well as seeing it unconstitutional (8th Amendment). 2. Prisoners act hostile for the mean of protection. In other words, some "victims" act in violence for fear of their life. The outcome is misread and the victims who had firstly attacked are blamed as the offenders. 3. Solitary confinement should be less forceful, if not, preventable. As mentioned, counseling should primarily be the first stage of rehabilitation. Furthermore, involving more activities waters down tension. 4. Knowing that we all are unalike, especially when handling a situation; should conclude that we all should be treated different. Resulting with one solution (solitary confinement) is not practical, there are thousand ways to solve a solution. 5. I think it is worth mentioning that not everyone likes to be alone. To imply that a certain group or certain individuals have done this, does not give full validity. Again, we are individuals and we all act different to certain situations.
Lastly, I liked to end off by suggesting that solitary conferment is not moral, and should not be use as a means of rehabilitation. What should be done is more first hand approaches and base a program that does less of harassing (pointing the finger) and more treatment.


Premise 1: The 8th Amendment protects against cruel and unusual punishment. A premise on your definition of cruelty would be helpful, since solitary confinement is in fact a usual form of rehabilitation.

Premise 2: It is understood that at times, in an altercation, an act of self-defense can be misinterpreted as intentional and malicious act of retribution. However, until an efficient method of distinguishing the two and testing the validity of accounts give is developed, unfortunately, both parties would have to be responsible for their actions.

Premise 3: Solitary confinement would be less forceful is the inmates would be more cooperative with the orders of the correction officers. While psychotherapy is helpful, it is also comes with a very large price tag. Additionally, not all inmates react well to counseling and others are so violent, it is not safe to put them into counseling or to work with others. Solitary confinement becomes the best solution to this dilemma.

Premise 4: I agree with your statement that we are diverse beings and different forms of rehabilitation are best. However, until more solutions to rehabilitation have been produced and implemented, it is difficult to discuss the the impracticality of solitary confinement. What would be impractical is "better" forms of rehabilitation already instituted into our prison systems with solitary confinement still used as the sole means of rehabilitation.

Premise 5: To counter your argument, I would say that likewise, not all people like to be the presence of others or enjoy interaction.

C: Solitary confinement is an effective means of rehabilitation.

Although I agree that more research can be done on diverse and more effective forms of rehabilitation, the argument provided does not give me reason enough to believe that solitary confinement is indeed a "bad thing." The title itself is vague because what might be bad to me is not to others, (i.e., bride kidnapping). It is noteworthy that I do believe solitary confinement can use some changes to increase its benefits, however this does not mean I believe it is ineffective. For example, in comparison with other 4G cellular devices, the iPhone is seemingly the least advanced. iPhones could use some changes, but this does not warrant it ineffective.
Debate Round No. 4
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