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?