Long-term Solitary Confinement As A Type of Torture

Long-term solitary confinement is a form of torture, or at least a recent Slate article seems to suggest quite convincingly. The article details the story of inmates, and the impacts prolonged isolation in super-max prisons have on the population. In some cases prolonged stays in isolation can cause hallucination, catatonia, and ultimately damages the minds of inmates — inmates, who at some point in the future, often will be reintroduced in to the public.

Many of the people who may not see solitary confinement as particularly useful in long stretches continue to use it despite the possibility of change for fear of being blackballed as “weak on crime” by a public that has little real understanding of the effects of said confinement, and the reality that the use of said practices actually does damage to society as a whole when stretched out on a longer time line.

Check out the article in the New Yorker: The United States holds tens of thousands of inmates in long-term solitary confinement. Is this torture?

Kleine-Levin Syndrome: Sleep 10 days at a time? You might have it.

“I was hallucinating and after that I don’t remember anything. All of a sudden it just went blank and I just slept for 10 days. I woke up and I was fine again.” [...]

“I was hallucinating and after that I don’t remember anything. All of a sudden it just went blank and I just slept for 10 days. I woke up and I was fine again.” [...]

Louisa is unusual as KLS usually affects teenage boys, who can also exhibit hypersexuality and inappropriate behaviour.

As well as excessive sleeping, symptoms include behaviour changes, irritability, feeling in a dream-like state and binge eating, symptoms that can be mistaken for normal teenage behaviour. [...]

The change in behaviour before and during a sleep episode is one of the most upsetting things for Louisa’s parents, who take it in turns to remain with her. Doctors have told the family it’s crucial to wake Louisa once a day to feed her and get her to the bathroom.

But Lottie admits it can take a while to get her to come round. “I’ve tried before to literally force her to wake up but she just starts swearing and gets so agitated and aggressive.” [...]

Many sufferers have abnormalities in their temporal lobe, the area of the brain involved in behaviour and memory. A scan of Louisa’s brain function revealed she does have abnormalities in her frontal lobe but there are no signs that this has affected her behaviour or memory. (via.)

Characteristics of Hallucinated Voices in Deaf People

What do hallucinated voices sound like… to deaf people? This post on Mind Hacks was just the right combination of funky weird, and insightful, here’s the blurb:

Mind Hacks: More on hallucinated “voices” in deaf people – “Voices were reported to be nonauditory, clear, and easy to understand. Participants were certain that they did not hear any sound when voices were present. They did not consider questions about pitch, volume, and loudness relevant to their experiences. [...] All participants had experienced seeing an image of the voice signing or lips moving in their mind. Imagery of fingerspelling was also seen but was less common. These images appeared to be subvisual in nature and distinct from true visual hallucinations. They were clearly understood as originating internally and several participants stated that the image could still be perceived with their eyes closed.”