the nature of torture

Conservative columnist George Will delivers a strong indictment of the use of solitary confinement on a mass scale in America’s prisons.

In 1890, the U.S. Supreme Court said of solitary confinement essentially what Dickens had said: “A considerable number of the prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to arouse them, and others became violently insane; others, still, committed suicide.” Americans should be roused against this by decency — and prudence.

Andrew Sullivan expands on (and argues with) Will here.

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