Eliminating youth solitary confinement : evidence-based practices & alternative interventions
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Using solitary confinement as a behavior management tool for incarcerated offenders is detrimental, counterproductive and ineffective. For youth under the age of 18, the impacts of solitary confinement can be catastrophic. Youth within juvenile detention facilities are more likely to have experienced violence, trauma and adverse childhood events. They are also more likely to have learning and development disabilities, mental health illnesses and substance abuse disorders. Existing research on solitary confinement is limited to how adults experience this extreme isolation and more qualitative studies are needed to determine the extent to which solitary confinement harms incarcerated youth. This report will introduce the subject of youth solitary confinement, illustrate how it is problematic, review the available research on youth neurological development, and use this information to influence policymakers to take the above into account when writing and implementing policies. The final portion of the report describes guidelines for implementation, policy and advocacy recommendations, and concludes by emphasizing the need for each youth detention facility to shift their institutional culture to a proactive, effective and rehabilitative model.