Social Question

Kraigmo's avatar

If sentenced to 25 years in prison, would you rather live in a dorm-like cell block where you can mingle with others (who are not a huge danger to you), or be put in solitary confinement, 12'x12' cell?

Asked by Kraigmo (8734points) April 15th, 2022

I keep reading about the human-rights horrors of solitary confinement because humans are “social animals” and being in solitude longer than a few days is emotional torture for most people.
I realize Solitary Confinement is torture for other reasons (small cell, 24 hour bright lights, etc), but those other reasons are never talked about. It’s the “solitude” itself that the human rights organizations have a problem with.
But let’s say you had the option of a 12’x12’ cell all to yourself, with a lighting scheme that is not disagreable to you, and all the library books you wanted. Would you take that option?

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12 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

A few years ago I read a book about the flaws in the justice system. It devoted a chapter to solitary confinement. One of its major points was that serving a sentence in solitary does not fit a person to resume life among people; quite the opposite.

Even though I might much prefer the quiet, the books, and the comfort of solitude, and, I would hope, writing materials and art materials, I would choose the community for the sake of my humanity.

filmfann's avatar

I would have said solitary would be no big deal, but after being in quarantine at Travis for 14 days, I can see how detrimental it is.
And I had my wife with me!

HP's avatar

It is the fanciful aspect of your stipulation, “mingle with others (who are not a huge danger to you)” that set me to thinking this one through. And I’m wondering if your offer is supposing the choice is access to the interaction with other prisoners while deprived of the books, lighting, or for that matter your own private space. For myself, covid has been for me a rather shocking lesson on the unexpected benefits of isolation. It was by no means anything comparable to solitary confinement, but a decided change from a lifelong go go life of hustling interpersonal interactions as a matter of routine. It’s been a period of peculiar peace, devoid of so many things I had previously viewed as responsibilities. Your puzzle is intriguing, but of course I would pick the community supposing it included the books and and the cell I might retreat to for down time.

gondwanalon's avatar

I think that I’ll take the solitary confinement. That way it would be easier for me to commit suicide.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gondwanalon Same here. 25 years in a cage, nope.

ragingloli's avatar

Solitary. It would be heaven.
As for “mingling”. I already hate interacting with people. I would especially hate interacting with hardened criminals that would gut me like a fish the moment I look at them weird.

smudges's avatar

Don’t even have to think about it, I’ll take the community.

When I was 15 I was in a reform school for 8 months. After an escape attempt, I was punished by 8 days in solitary confinement. There was a cot, a toilet and a 12×6 plexiglass window. I was allowed 2 showers. It was soooo freakin’ boring! No books or contact except for when they brought meals.

Many years later I found out that they had outlawed solitary confinement; it was considered cruel and unusual punishment.

kritiper's avatar

I’ll take solitary confinement. Then I can be sure that no one will mess with my stuff. Or my ass.

flutherother's avatar

Difficult to say. I’m sure whichever I chose after a week I’d be wishing I’d picked the other option.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well a person doesn’t have a choice where they end up. As far as I know they always start out in the general population and only get thrown in solitary if they majorly screw up.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

25 years, 25. Those of you asking for solitary may want to reconsider that. As much as I do prefer to be alone I would need a computer as well to be able have contact every now and then.

Jeruba's avatar

@Dutchess_III, from what I’ve heard, some people need to be in a restricted section instead of open dorms if they’re at risk from the general population, such as if they have been an informant or they are in for child molestation charges. This is not solitary, though. I’ve also heard that once you’ve asked for the higher security, with, say, one cellmate, you can’t go back to the general population.

This information is just hearsay, though. I don’t really know the rules.

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