Live Chat: Is Solitary Confinement Torture?

Emily is a staff writer at Science.

[This chat start at 4:30 p.m. Eastern, 3:30 Central. If it is after that time, please hit refresh on your page.]

The United States keeps as many as 80,000 prisoners in solitary confinement, sometimes for years or decades on end. Research suggests that this form of punishment can cause severe psychiatric and neurological damage to inmates, and evidence for its effectiveness in reducing crime or recidivism is scant. In light of studies of prisoners of war and the impact of sensory and social deprivation on the brain, does such punishment qualify as cruel and unusual punishment according to the U.S. Constitution and national and international human rights conventions? And what are scientists learning about the impact of sensory deprivation on the brain?

Join Science on Friday, 14 February, at 4:30 p.m. EST (3:30 p.m. CST) for a live video chat with experts on the psychological and psychiatric risks of solitary confinement, as well as Robert King, a former prisoner who spent 29 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana.

Posted in Brain & Behavior AAAS 2014