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View Diary: There Is a Difference, After All, Between Punishment and Torture. (54 comments)

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  •  Here's an article on Mississippi (8+ / 0-)

    Epps is the prison commissioner.

    In 2010, as part of a settlement with the ACLU, Epps ordered the closing of Unit 32 and started rolling back the use of solitary confinement across his state.

    "They convinced me to try their way, and I am glad I did," Epps said.

    A step-down system was introduced with incentives for inmates to stop misbehaving. Inmates could be moved from a cell with a solid door to one with bars that let in more light and air. Instead of being led to the shower room with handcuffs behind his back, an inmate could go unrestrained. There could be unrestrained leisure time and time to mingle with other inmates and staff. Gradually, hundreds were transferred to Parchman's general population.

    A second lawsuit by the ACLU led to the abolition of solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in Mississippi.

    "What happens when you do that to an individual, particularly when they're so young, is it you take away all hope," Epps said. "We are hoping that we can change their behavior and they can come out and be productive citizens."

    New rules limit solitary confinement to adult inmates with serious infractions, to gang leaders, prison escapees, or those who pose a threat to the safety of other inmates.

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