BTR News: Virginia Settles Two Solitary Confinement Lawsuits But Admit No Wrongdoing

By Scotty Reid – Solitary confinement has for a while now, deemed an inhumane practice by the medical community that recognizes that it inflicts psychological damage on a human being that can lead to irreversible mental trauma.

Medical News Today reported in 2020,

A large body of research shows that solitary confinement causes adverse psychological effects and increases the risk of serious harm to individuals who experience it. According to an article in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, isolation can be as distressing as physical torture.

The BJS report that approximately 25% of people in prison and 35% of those in jail who had spent 30 days or longer in solitary confinement during the previous year had symptoms of serious psychological distress. The rates were similar for those who only spent 1 day in isolation.

Animals are who are caged in solitary conditions exhibit signs that point to the ill effects of the barbaric practice and there are groups dedicated to rescuing animals held under those conditions and campaigning to educate the public on the issue. While referencing an executive order in 2016 issued by former President Barack Obama which banned solitary confinement of juveniles in federal prisons. the animal rights group PETA noted,

On Monday, President Barack Obama issued an executive order banning solitary confinement of juveniles in federal prisons. Citing the devastating psychological effects, including depression, alienation, withdrawal, and the potential for violent behavior, Obama called solitary confinement of nonviolent teens “an affront to our common humanity.”

He’s right. And the same psychological effects apply to more than human kids. They also apply to the millions of dogs penned and chained alone backyards—in solitary confinement—across the country. These animals are not criminals. They are supposedly our “best friends.” And that’s no way to treat a friend.

People have faced criminal penalties for mistreating animals but when it comes to torturing human beings who are confined in jails and prisons in every state within the United States and little has been done by legislatures to abolish the practice on human beings.

Now word comes of solitary confinement lawsuits are being settled by the state of Virginia in at least two cases. The latest settlement involved a man who was held over 600 days in solitary confinement.

From The Richmond Times-Dispatch,

A $150,000 settlement that includes a transfer to a New Jersey prison has been reached in the case of a mentally ill Virginia inmate allegedly held in solitary confinement for 600 days leading to his mental and physical collapse. Tyquine Rahmer Lee, 28, of Portsmouth, was transferred Jan. 19 in accordance with the settlement of a federal suit filed by his mother, Takeisha Brown. Lee and Brown were represented by the MacArthur Justice Center and pro bono attorneys from the law firm Williams & Connolly LLP. The transfer moves him closer to his mother, who is his legal guardian, said his lawyers. They said his mother also plans to request a conditional pardon.

As typical in far too many cases involving state and federal civil cases, those guilty of inflicting harm on the victims, employees of the state, never admit to wrongdoing and therefore no one is held criminally accountable. Victims are often poor and in desperate situations and are coerced into signing non-disclosure agreements and the cases are flushed down the memory hole.

While executive orders can bring some immediate temporary relief to federal prisoners, and Biden should be pressured to issue an executive order banning solitary confinement altogether in federal prisons including private prison contractors, but it is not a permanent solution and why the US Congress must put forth legislation banning the practice nationwide. We as a society are living in a new century that has yet to rid itself of such barbaric practices rooted in slavery.

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