POLITICS
04/12/2013 10:57 am ET Updated Apr 12, 2013

Bloomberg View Comes Out Against 'Inhumane' Solitary Confinement

The editors of Bloomberg View, the opinion arm of Bloomberg News, came out against solitary confinement in an editorial on Thursday that said the use of the "inhumane" practice in the United States has "broken the bounds of reason and decency."

Placing the practice in global context, Bloomberg View lamented the "outlier status of the US, which subjects tens of thousands of inmates, including the nonviolent, to a practice that much of the world regards as torture."

Bloomberg View was reacting to the news last month that solitary is so widespread that it is imposed even on suspected immigration violators who are alleged to have committed no more than a civil violation. Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said she was looking into a report from the New York Times that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials hold 300 immigrants in solitary at any given time.

All told, more than 80,000 Americans are isolated in solitary at any one time. The country's use of the practice is so widespread that even children are held there on a regular basis.

Prison officials say they use the practice to protect prisoners' safety. Human rights activists have argued, however, that solitary is so crushing that it's a form of torture.

"Solitary confinement is, by its nature, dehumanizing. It should be a last resort for violent and dangerous criminals," Bloomberg View concluded. "It certainly should have no role in the detention of undocumented immigrants and thousands of other nonviolent prisoners."

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