The number of K2-related deaths in Texas prisons is mounting, year after year. Due to this drug being undetectable by prison drug-testing kits, it has become a favorite drug of choice for prisoners and prison officials who profit handsomely from smuggling it in. This has caused other common prison drugs, like cocaine, marijuana and meth, to be discarded by prisoners who now have the ability to get high without worrying about failing drug tests.
California should display national leadership in the area of juvenile justice, not be among the states with the most backward, inhumane and primitive policies. We respectfully urge you to take whatever leadership steps are possible to protect the fundamental rights of this highly vulnerable population of juveniles and offer your strong support for SB 124.
Solitary confinement can eat away at someone’s mind, making mental illness worse and leaving many people depressed, suicidal, hopeless or hallucinating. It’s no place for individuals with mental illness. In 1995, a federal court in California agreed. After a trial exposing the appalling conditions at Pelican Bay, a federal judge ordered all mentally ill prisoners out of the prison’s security housing unit (SHU) in a case called Madrid v. Gomez.
A comprehensive new article by Brandon Keim in Wired Science is titled “The Horrible Psychology of Solitary Confinement.” Keim does an excellent job of summing up the research on the psychological effects of solitary. He also points to the relative lack of cutting-edge neuroscientific research on the subject, which might show the physical effects isolation has on the brain.