Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
Opinion >  Letters

Solitary confinement is inhumane

Particularly after our lonely year of isolation, I was struck by an article about a man depicting the imposement of solitary confinement for more than five years in the U.S. prison system.

Armed with a master’s degree in developmental psychology, I served as executive director of a hospitals-supported nonprofit that treated child victims of crime and their families. Those children and family members, referred to us by law enforcement and the child welfare agency, had experienced trauma that usually started in the first five year of life.

I told my board that they needed to nurture me, so I could nurture the supervisors, so they could nurture the clinicians who could nurture the parents who could then nurture their children.

That’s what works! Not punishment, not isolation, but connectedness, belonging, and caring. Finland has learned this lesson in its prison system. There, a prison sentence is an opportunity to learn job and social skills to return as a productive community member.

In the US prison system, solitary confinement may occur for years, not days.

What on earth are we doing?

Mary Ann Murphy



Letters policy

The Spokesman-Review invites original letters on topics of public interest. Your letter must adhere to the following rules:

  • No more than 250 words
  • We reserve the right to reject letters that are not factually correct, racist or are written with malice.
  • We cannot accept more than one letter a month from the same writer.
  • With each letter, include your daytime phone number and street address.
  • The Spokesman-Review retains the nonexclusive right to archive and re-publish any material submitted for publication.
Unfortunately, we don’t have space to publish all letters received, nor are we able to acknowledge their receipt.
Click here to learn more.

Submit letters using any of the following:

Our online form

Mail: Letters to the Editor
The Spokesman-Review
999 W. Riverside Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201

Fax: (509) 459-3815
Questions?: (509) 459-5430