Every day in the United States, young people under the age of eighteen are held in solitary confinement, a form of punishment in which inmates are placed alone in a cell for 22 to 24 hours a day with little or no human contact. The practice of solitary confinement is associated with high rates of severe mental illness and suicide and the effects are compounded in young people, who are still developing emotionally, physically and psychologically. While the growing use of the practice in our prisons is cruel and unjust for all inmates, the need to end its use among youth is particularly urgent.


Add your name to The Nation's open letter in support of a call by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and the ACLU imploring Attorney General Eric Holder to ban the practice of holding young people in federal custody in solitary confinement. 


This ACLU report is based on interviews and correspondence with more than 125 young people in 19 states who spent time in solitary confinement while under age 18 as well as with jail and/or prison officials in 10 states. 


Young people are held in solitary confinement in jails and prisons across the US, often for weeks or months at a time. The isolation of solitary confinement causes anguish, provokes serious mental and physical health problems, and works against rehabilitation for teenagers.