More than 80,000 people are held in solitary confinement on any given day in the United States. More than 2,000 people are held in solitary confinement units by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, with thousands more cycling in and out of these units each year. In 2011, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, issued a report concluding that more than 15 days in solitary confinement should be considered a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The Abolitionist Law Center understands solitary confinement as the innermost core of a prison system and political order built on fear, intimidation, and social exclusion. Solitary is a weapon of terror arrayed against the prison population. ALC works with prisoners, their families, and our allies in order to further efforts to abolish this form of torture.