This essay first discusses the history of solitary confinement as a prison technique and its negative psychological consequences. It then recounts the international standards for prison conditions and, comparatively, the protection afforded under the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution. Next it will then discuss progressive European prison standards and protection of international human rights. It concludes that US solitary confinement practices contravene international treaty law, violate established international norms, and do not represent sound foreign policy.
From 2001 to 2003, AFSC wrote a series of papers looking at the prison system in the United States. These papers discuss the use of solitary confinement and other abuses suffered by inmates. Many of these abuses are greater now than they were then, maintaining much of the relevancy of these reports.