An Isolated Life: An Analysis of Restrictions, Behaviors, And Daily Life For Administrative Segregation Inmates




Blinkhorn, Ashley Myrtle

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Between 80,000 and 100,000 inmates in federal and state correctional facilities are currently housed in solitary confinement. Building on literature by Haney, Pyrooz, and others, this study seeks to describe what daily life looks like for these men and the impact segregation has on their mental state. Secondary data analysis of a self-report survey conducted by mail has permitted a unique window into the daily lives of Texas Department of Criminal Justice adults in custody. Most inmates in segregation nationwide are held in solitary for relatively short terms. However, the average duration of isolation for this sample is in excess of six years. This study analyzed the impact of extended social deprivation has on the mental state of the incarcerated persons, in addition to examining the prevalence of additional restrictions. Abusive staff behavior is discussed. These factors were analyzed to investigate any relationships present with selfharm rates and mental wellness. The typical inmate experienced several symptoms of mental illness and an increase in self-harm behaviors while in segregated housing. Nearly three-quarters of inmates reported experiencing at least one additional restriction, which was found to have a moderate, positive, and significant effect on self-harm rates. Abusive behavior by staff also lead to a significant increase in mental health symptoms experienced and self-harm rates of inmates in solitary confinement.



Solitary confinement, Mental health, Corrections, Restrictions, Abuse


Blinkhorn, A. M. (2020). <i>An isolated life: An analysis of restrictions, behaviors, and daily life for administrative segregation inmates</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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