On Saturday, February 15, The Rev. Dr. Patricia Teel Bates will be hosting a national meditation and prayer vigil for the many citizens affected by the excessive and inhumane use of solitary confinement. She asks that people in the US and around the world take a stance within their own communities against the use of solitary confinement at 5 p.m. on February 15.
The Rev. Dr. Bates asks us to consider the detrimental effects of this practice not just on our prisoners but on our society at large. She asks, “Look at the record: How many suicides are committed or narrowly averted in solitary, compared to general populations of offenders? Considering that the vast majority of offenders will reenter our neighborhoods and homes, how helpful is solitary/isolation in preparing them to become productive citizens and family members? Look at the record of those in isolation for extended periods and consider the traumatic injury done to the offender and to society.”
She continues, “If we believe in the sacred worth of every human being, no matter the wrongs committed, how can we justify treating any human being inhumanely, as solitary does? When we do, our own humanity is diminished. Our system of justice is flawed.”
If you agree with The Rev. Dr. Bates, please consider organizing or joining a prayer or meditation session in your own communities. We also welcome your responses to this issue at AtT; if you would like to contribute your own views, please send us an email.