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Featured image courtesy: DianeDiamond.net
My name is Kelly. I’m a student at Suffolk University and a passionate activist at the Student Alliance for Prison Reform, a nationwide network of university students working for prison reform.
When I was a teenager I spent 7 months in prison. For the first time I was able to personally experience the failings of our criminal justice system. In disbelief I watched as wardens locked up young people in solitary confinement for hours, days, even weeks.
One young woman I met, who had spent 60 days in solitary, described it as torture. How can we let our youth endure this kind of torture?
As a student, daughter, friend, former prisoner, and an advocate, I’m writing you today to urge you to join me in our campaign to end the barbaric practice of juvenile solitary.”
While I was serving my sentence, there were times it felt unbearable. When I think about solitary confinement now, I’m still angry. Even for those of us who were in the general population, everything that makes you a person is stripped away until you are entirely alone.
In solitary confinement, the experience of complete isolation can be physically harmful and psychologically damaging – especially for youth.
That’s why I joined forces with the ACLU and SAPR on my campus to work to make sure that no more young people have to undergo this torturous experience, even if they are in prison.
One adult solitary survivor told me, “I can’t imagine how someone under 21 and especially under 18 could mentally handle that without losing it!”
Every day across the country, kids as young as 13 are held in solitary confinement with almost no human contact for days or months at a time.
It’s time to speak up. Solitary confinement is torture, and it should be outlawed for all juveniles.
Thanks for taking action,
Kelly McCarron for SAPR and the ACLU Action team