15 Days

End the Torture of Solitary Confinement

In the US today, more than 80,000 people - men, women, and children - live up to 23 hours a day in tiny cells without natural light, air, or human contact. Many remain there for months, years, or even decades.

The UN's expert on torture considers more than 15 days in solitary confinement a human rights violation. The US is the only democratic nation that makes widespread use of long-term solitary confinement in its prisons, even for minor, nonviolent infractions as simple as having too many postage stamps.

Is solitary confinement torture? What effect does it have on the people who endure it? 

Hear one man’s story »

The UN calls more than 15 days in solitary torture. We should too.

Take action to end the torture of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails. Sign up for Solitary Watch's newsletter to stay informed about solitary confinement in the U.S., and visit the site for events and actions taking place in your state.

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Sign the National Religious Campaign Against Torture's petition: End Prolonged Solitary Confinement Now.


Read More

Explore the following resources to learn more about solitary confinement:


The Guardian, "Solitary Confinement's Invisible Scars" by Five Mualimmak  Read the article 

The New Yorker, "Hellhole" | Read the article 

Mother Jones, "No Way Out" | Read the article 

The Nation, "New York's Black Sites" | Read the article 

The Atlantic, “An American Gulag: Descending into Madness at Supermax” | Read the article 

Reason.com, "'For Their Own Protection': Children in Long-Term Solitary Confinement" | Read the article 

Acts of Witness, "The Gray Box" | Read the article



ACLU/Human Rights Watch, Growing Up Locked Down: Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prison Across the United States | Read the report

New York Civil Liberties Union, Boxed In: The True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York’s Prisons| Read the report

Amnesty International, The Edge of Endurance: Prison Conditions in California’s Security Housing Units. September: |Read the report

American Friends Service Committee, Lifetime Lockdown: How Isolation Conditions Impact Prisoner Reentry. | Read the report

New York City Bar Association, Committee on International Human Rights (2011). Supermax Confinement in U.S. Prisons | Read the report

Sharon Shalev, Sourcebook on Solitary Confinement | Read the report

Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons, Confronting Confinement | Read the report