March 21, 2017
JUVENILE SOLITARY CONFINEMENT
Solitary confinement kills your soul.
Solitary confinement can lead to depression, anxiety, and mental illness in children. Yet, up to 17,000 juveniles are in solitary in the United States. Ask President Obama and Congress to end juvenile solitary confinement!
In my nine-year prison sentence, I spent a total of five years in solitary. This means I had no human interaction for 23 hours a day. I passed my days counting the bricks in my bathroom-sized cell. I hallucinated. I was invisible to the world. And this isn’t just happening to adults – tragically, juveniles are being put in solitary confinement: up to 17,000 youth under the age of 18 are in solitary right now.
The United Nations has urged a ban on juvenile solitary confinement, stating that solitary can amount to an act of torture. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry has called for an end to juvenile solitary confinement, stating that it can lead to depression, anxiety, and mental illness in children. And yet, we’re putting children as young as 11 in solitary confinement.
Together, we can change this.
Sign my petition asking President Obama and Congress to put an end to juvenile solitary confinement.
Currently, Congress is considering legislation that would limit the use of juvenile solitary confinement. And the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency has written that “isolation of children is dangerous” and “excessive isolation can constitute cruel and unusual punishment.”Even President Obama has spoken out against solitary confinement. So we’re making progress, but we need to send a loud message that we are taking a stand against juvenile solitary confinement as a nation.
Because when you’re in solitary, you feel inhuman. You feel like an animal. And you’re treated like one. So it’s not surprising that, like me, over 70% of children coming out of solitary confinement suffer from mental illness. We cannot let this continue. If enough of us raise our voices, we will be heard, and we will stop juvenile solitary confinement.
I was an adult in solitary and barely made it out alive.Imagine what it’s like for a child whose brain is not fully developed to deal with extreme isolation. It’s torture, plain and simple. And we must stop it.
Bronx, New York