“Efforts addressed to the abolition of solitary confinement as a punishment, or to the restriction of its use should be undertaken and encouraged”
Principle 7, Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners, 1990
With the exception of the death penalty, solitary confinement is the most extreme sanction which may be legally imposed on prisoners. Its adverse effects on the health and wellbeing of those subjected to it, particularly for prolonged periods, can be very serious. Yet, in recent years there has been an increase in the use of strict, and often prolonged, solitary confinement in prisons and other places of detention across the world. This is a worrying development with potentially harmful consequences, not only for the individual concerned but also for the wider communities to which they will eventually return.
This website is dedicated to examining the practice of solitary confinement in its various forms. It is designed to accompany the Sourcebook on Solitary Confinement and expand on issues discussed therein. The website is managed and maintained by Sharon Shalev.
Sourcebook on solitary confinement
A comprehensive single point of reference on solitary confinement examining its documented health effects, and professional, ethical and human rights guidelines and codes of practice relating to its use.
Resources and links
A selection of human rights and professional resources and links.
The Istanbul Statement
A statement on the use and effects of solitary confinement adopted by an international group of experts in Istanbul in December 2007.
- The Nelson Mandela Rules
We are keen to include information on this web-site about practices of solitary confinement across the world, and to learn more about the experiences of those who were held in isolation as well as staff who work in solitary confinement units. Contact us at: email@example.com