Last Days of Solitary

Last Days of Solitary

2017, Society  -   20 Comments
Ratings: 8.46/10 from 35 users.

Animalistic howls resonate down a hallway littered with food particles, streams of blood and toilet water. At first glance, you might believe this is the setting from a horror film. But this isn't a movie, and the horrors that occur here are far too real. This is the solitary confinement wing at Maine State Prison, and it's where the filmmakers behind Last Days of Solitary stationed their cameras for a period of three years.

Up to 90,000 inmates in America are living in isolation at any given time. The practice has garnered criticism from voices in the prison reform movement for good reason. If the ultimate goal of imprisonment is rehabilitation, then solitary confinement is woefully counterproductive. Instead of acting as a deterrent, it often enhances a prisoner's anti-social and violent tendencies.

In solitary, inmates are denied interaction with others, their movements are restricted to an area not much wider than an average floor rug, and their only exposure to the world outside their steel cell door is the shower they're allowed twice a week.

Of course, these inmates have been sentenced to solitary for a reason. They are the offenders who fail to integrate with the general prison population. Within months in solitary, many of them suffer a mental break, and chose to occupy the endless hours by beating their heads against the wall or spending time in the company of a razor blade.

Like several other states, Maine is exploring options on how to phase out the practice of solitary confinement. As the film begins, a new warden has been brought in to implement a variety of reforms in that direction. Therapy sessions allow the inmates a chance at group interaction and honest dialogue. We learn about the events that led them to pursue lives of crime, the challenges they face while serving their sentences, and their insecurities on how they'll manage a return to normal life on the outside.

Alongside the inmates, psychiatrists and prison administrators also discuss the need for fresh thinking when it comes to the notion of prison rehabilitation.

Last Days of Solitary is harrowing, but essential in its depiction of a broken prison system and the hope that true reform can inspire more productive members of society.

Directed by: Dan Edge, Lauren Mucciolo

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4 years ago

America is so f***ed up on so many levels. What a mess of a country. God Bless the UK.

4 years ago

Give them pot so they can relax and show them inspiring documentaries or a great pastor with a wonderful message from god but if u choose to treat them like animals don't be surprised when they act like animals. There are better ways to get to these people. . This is just stupid bull.

Kiwi Paddy
5 years ago

when you treat human beings worse than animals.....don't be surprised when an animal is released back into society

5 years ago

These guys don't know how to channel their excess of energies, being mostly young. Give them 1 hour per day jogging, and I bet agressive behaviour will start fade away. You must tire your body to rest your mind.

Otto Holl
5 years ago

Reply to Jazz:
How many inmates who you call animals and human trash did you "eliminate"?
Plenty of chances as a health provider...
A real fine person you seem to be. Shudder...

5 years ago

Thanks for the info Chas!

Paul Modde
5 years ago

My comments are geared towards the way to many in prison that shouldn't be there, marijuana user and other mundane considered crimes. Behavioral sciences is an interesting approach and needs more open minded approaches perspectives etc. It has been observed that troubled teens and youth taken from the environment that has molded them to begin with in many cases is a good start.

Prisons should be a government tax expense hey should be designed and managed to be more self sustaining. Prisons should be growing there own foods s much as possible. Research have proven the positive benefits in adjusting behaviors when in closer touch with nature, Proper diet supplying the mind body relationship with minerals nutrients vitamins etc we all need has a direct positive bio chemical brain reaction aiding people to be calmer and more focused. It is a fact that the number one cause of sickness disease and death published by the International Union of concerned Scientists in 2012 is food (diet). Without writing a book or dissertation on the subject suffice is it to say some will get the point. Like Hippocrates the Father of Medicine said Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food!

5 years ago

America could take a few pointers from Sweden...rehabilitation and reintegration for those who qualify and drug addicts do not belong in jail. Period.

M. LaJoie
5 years ago

"If the ultimate goal of imprisonment is rehabilitation, then solitary confinement is woefully counterproductive."

"If..." The ultimate goal of imprisonment is not rehabilitation. It may be vengeance. It may be to segregate offenders to protect society at large, custodial officers or the prison population.
It is obvious present practices do not encourage rehabilitation. Some, perhaps most, are going to re-offend.

"National Statistics on Recidivism

Bureau of Justice Statistics studies have found high rates of recidivism among released prisoners. One study tracked 404,638 prisoners in 30 states after their release from prison in 2005.[1] The researchers found that:

Within three years of release, about two-thirds (67.8 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested."

It is obvious that prisons don't rehabilitate, and are not designed to rehabilitate.

5 years ago

I worked ia prison, as a health care provider for years. Before that at a maximum security hospital.
I have absolutely no sympathy or empathy for these animals.....period. Judt shoot them.....get them out of the gene pool forever. They ate NOT WORTH any investment.....they are the human trash.....the dreggs of the gene pool. Just eliminate them.

5 years ago

America the Beautiful.

5 years ago

Clearly, this punishment creates immense suffering for all involved. Not to mention increased costs on the system. I agree with the comment above that instead of this, these people can serve society and pay their dues by hard labor as road crews or volunteering for medical experiments (leaving innocent animals alone.)

joe nobull
5 years ago

5 to a cell made from plexi glass,24hr video and microphones actively monitored and recorded,let them teach each other how to be socially proper,the bad ones can be easily discovered and delt with in some other manner

5 years ago

I've served time in prison for (marijuana charges), and I can provide some insight about the system in general. It's understandably difficult to have much sympathy for prison inmates. (I was there because of corrupt cops who lied to a judge and falsified their reports, but that's a whole different issue. The point being, there are innocent people serving time, and some are later cleared, and many of those are given large settlements at taxpayer expense, your dime.) I've served time alongside lifers, those sentenced to life without parole, they will never see the outside again. Most are guilty, most deserve to be there, some deserve the death penalty, which I'd personally prefer over a life without parole sentence. Many commit suicide. Most inmates are assigned jobs, they do most of the work to keep the prison functioning; cooking, cleaning, maintenance, etc.,they are not paid much, about enough for half a jar of coffee per month, more for skilled labor. They are punished if they cause problems like fighting or drug dealing/possession (yeah, we can't keep drugs out of the most secure prisons), or if they refuse work, privileges are taken away, and they are moved to disciplinary housing where the conditions are much worse and more dangerous.

The lower the security level, the cheaper it is to house inmates. The ratio of guards to inmates is lower. The better the living conditions, the happier the inmates, the safer the working environment for the guards. Higher security equals more guards, more dangerous environment with more fights, stabbings, attacks on guards, etc., and more money out of your pocket. As these inmates age, eating the low cost prison diet, they develop health problems that must be treated, all at your expense. Every prison has fully staffed dental and medical facilities on site. Inmates are transported to local hospitals for medical care and testing that cannot be provided at the prison, once again all at your expense. Even inmates who are in a coma are guarded by two guards 24/7 who earn up to six figures annually.

When it comes to solitary confinement, most normal people cannot handle it for very long without going crazy. They'll end up psychotic and on anti-depressants, at your expense. Some of the more introverted inmates such as myself request to be placed in solitary, but was refused based on my low security risk and record of compliance and non-violence.

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country. Most inmates are there for drug offenses and should not be there. This undermines the entire system and overall respect for the law itself. Murderers, rapists, child molesters, etc., should be given life without parole, or possibly the death penalty (which is a whole different discussion). Thieves, robbers, those who assault others, etc., should maybe be rehabilitated if possible, but the system offers no chance. It's basically a place for drug dealers and users to network. I met some pretty good contacts in there. And I had some of my medical issues diagnosed and treated. All at your expense.

5 years ago

Ahhhh, poor babies. I feel sooooooo bad for them.

5 years ago

Maybe they could be used as work force instead of locking them up. Hard labor makes you think straight.