Prisoners in solitary confinement are distinct from those in other sectors of the prison population

As part of a study published in Justice Quarterly, researchers at Florida State University and the University of Cincinnati examined prisoners in solitary confinement, comparing them to people in other sectors of the prison population.

In the study, researchers looked through the records of about 192,000 people incarcerated in the system of the Florida Department of Corrections, from 2007 to 2015.

Aside from focusing on people who underwent solitary confinement while in the prison system, researchers also turned their attention to the specific characteristics of each prisoner, including demographic details, medical history, educational attainment, and language proficiency.

“The profile of the population sent to extended solitary management (ESM) differed substantially from that of the rest of the admission-and-release population: Those sent to ESM were much more likely to be adolescents or young adults, males were more likely than females to be sent to ESM, and Blacks comprised 63 percent of the ESM population but just 43 percent of the overall prison population,” according to a news release of the study.

“A focus on disparities in ESM placements is important for advancing research and policy,” argued one co-author of the study in the news release.

“We need to understand more about the factors that contribute to placements. For example, some groups may engage in more violent or disruptive behavior, which could create the disparities.”

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