Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union released a new report today entitled 'Growing Up Locked Down,' which details the widespread use of solitary confinement on kids under the age of 18 in prisons and jails across the U.S.
Ian Kysel, author of the report, interviewed more than 125 young people who had spent time in solitary confinement in 19 states, reports The Guardian.
Kysel said many children created imaginary friends or played games in their heads to deal with the hours of extreme isolation and sensory deprivation. Some children hid under the covers and tried to sleep as much as possible, while others could not sleep at all.
The report states that "solitary confienment has a distinct and particularly profound impact on children because of the special vulnerability and needs of adolescents, solitary confinement can be a particularly cruel and harmful practice when applied to them.”
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The Guardian reports:
Given that nearly 100,000 youth under the age of 18 pass through adult prisons and jails annually, there exists the staggering possibility that thousands of children are spending time in solitary confinement each year.
For this reason, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union recommend that state and the federal governments “prohibit the housing of adolescents with adults, or in jails and prisons designed to house adults.”