In the first-ever hearing of its kind, a Senate panel heard testimony this week on the psychological and human rights implications of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. While defenders of solitary confinement claim it is needed to control the most violent prisoners, many of the people called to testify at the hearing described how it can cause intense suffering and mental illness. We’re joined by Anthony Graves, a former Texas prisoner who was fully exonerated of a murder conviction after spending 18 years behind bars, the bulk of that time on death row and in solitary confinement, and by James Ridgeway, a veteran journalist and co-editor of Solitary Watch, a website that tracks solitary confinement and torture in American prisons.
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Montana Department of Corrections does not believe that an inmate should have any rights when they talk about the subject of human rights. There are inmates that are taken off their medication, knowing that a doctor or the VA has put them on it for a reason. They take them off cold turkey, not caring about side effects, if it kills them or not. Many inmates have bad side effects and more than enough have had psychotic episodes where they get destructive in their cells. The prison then throws them into solitary. They seem to derive great satisfaction in doing this, as if it were a Nazi Concentration Camp and they want to see how they suffer. Many psychologists have been outraged when they hear this. A forensic examiner that travels to testify could not believe that they would do that and make these inmates go through the torture and the risk of yanking them off of much needed medication.