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» Economics » Torture » Topics begins with S » Solitary confinement

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The solitary confinement (isolation detention), in which short form ISO detention is, a detention form, with which prisoners within a prison or a similar mechanism will withhold to a large extent social needs and organic-sensory sensory impressions by methods and forms of the social Deprivation and the sensory Deprivation.

Solitary confinement mostly applied for the prevention of the information flow and for the prevention of arrangement between prisoners and can also as punishment for rule offences be expressed.

The term is brought to the Red Army parliamentary group among other things by RAF Apologeten with the prison conditions of members in the penal institution Stuttgart master home in connection.

Legal classification

With view of the legally embodied however temporally and in the extent of the assigned Deprivation clearly solitary confinement limited (in Germany see among other things "§88 f. StVollzG/adjacent also among other things "§67 FF., "§91, "§103 FF. StVollzG) is legally not exactly defined the solitary confinement in Germany. Is problematic that is not exactly fixed, with which measures (kind and extent of the Deprivation) and when (length of the Deprivation) the border to or other side is exceeded.

The solitary confinement as such (and concomitantly its basic conditions) is legally not fixed, but the accommodation of prisoners on isolation conditions is outlawed on the contrary as torture method world-wide of human right organizations, used nevertheless in addition, probably world-wide in the official and unofficial law execution without legal basis.

History, clearing-up and resistance

Although isolation and Deprivation are already used for centuries to punishment purposes, the solitary confinement became only at the beginning 19. Century, about over 1821, a form of the punishment within prison systems introduced to Philadelphia (the USA) and since then constantly investigate again and develop further. The prisoners were not allowed to work at that time and to receive as only attendance a clergyman. The system was called at this time still bus detention.

Free philosophers and used themselves at that time for the bus house as allegedly human alternative to the death penalty, mutilating and body punishment.

Already 1842 protested the writer Charles of thickening against the solitary confinement and called it, since she leaves physically no clearly visible traces, as white torture and in principle worse than any primarily physically working torture.

Solitary confinement gave it among other things also in the northIrish civil war against catholic activists in H-block so mentioned and in the Stuttgart master home of the German Federal Republic and Cologne against member to the Red Army parliamentary group. In master home the cell doors were partly isolated sound proof, in order to prevent jedweden contact of the passengers among themselves.

In Germany become the effect the solitary confinement by a letter the former authoress Ulrike Meinhof from the dead Trakt in the JVA Cologne Ossendorf (16. July 1972 to 9. February 1973) a broad public admit. Their and also appropriate descriptions of other prisoners are designated from national side than propaganda lie for the advantage of the RAF and the employment by solitary confinement as well as a connection with serious health problems for the prisoners until today are answered in the negative. This position is supported by newer publications, as for instance the memories of the Stammheimer an execution official Horst Bubeck.

A Danish section of Amnesty international, a group of physicians as well as former Federal Minister of the Interior Otto Schily, (SPD), calls the solitary confinement "the worst form of the torture".

Numerous human right organizations as amnesty internationally call among other things this detention form also today still solitary confinement and inform about victims and resistances against this form of psychological torture.

If the solitary confinement was used first only against political prisoners, then it established meanwhile in the JVAs and also approximately social prisoners so mentioned used themselves (see also a report of the Members of the Bundestag and since 1981 as an execution of sentences aid active Ulla Jelpke in the newspaper boy world).

Already since 1983 the type of prison of the supermax is in application in the USA. This plans the Verwahrung of the prisoners in perfect solitary confinement 23 hours on the day.

In Turkey prisoners and their member fight against the legalization of the solitary confinement by the introduction so mentioned for years, which takes over the standards for isolation of prisoners, developed in Germany.

Frequently parallel to the ISO detention still different not provable forms are used by torture, e.g. sleep withdrawal, changed day night rhythm, food withdrawal and so on.


The acute and long-term, partially chronic consequences of solitary confinement are different, depending upon length, kind and extent of the Deprivation. Likewise are individual differences going by, when consequences of the solitary confinement arise with humans, not however that effects show up. This is only a question of the time and no question of the personality or kind of the Deprivation. In investigations of prisoners forwards, during and after solitary confinement the among other things following effects could as "classical features of the solitary confinement in the sense of the sensory Deprivation and the social isolation" in: Klusmeyer, 1985:46) to be documented:

  • substantial impairment of the operability of the vegetative nervous system
    • substantial disturbances in the hormone household
    • Impairment of organ functions
    • Are missing the Menstruation with women without physiological-organic, age or a pregnancy-conditioned cause (secondary Amenorrhoe)
    • intensified feeling, eat to have: Zynorexie/hot hunger, Hyperorexie, Fresssucht
    • in contrast to it decrease or being missing of the thirst feeling
    • strong hot flushes and/or cooling feelings, which cannot be attributed to an appropriate change of the ambient temperature or to an illness (fever, vibration frost
  • substantial impairment of the perception and the cognitive efficiency (which regarding legal proceedings/defense in criminal cases of problems creates in particular)
    • strong disturbance of the processing of perceptions
    • strong disturbances of the body feeling
    • strong general concentration difficulties
    • strong difficulties up to the inability to seize to vintages and/or the reading mental to reconstruct and bring into a meaningful connection
    • strong difficulties up to the inability, to letters and/or thoughts to process in writing (Agraphie/Dysgraphie)
    • strong articulation /Verbalisierungsschwierigkeiten, particularly in the ranges the syntax, grammar and word choice to show and up to Aphasie, Aphrasie and Agnosie are enough themselves can
    • strong difficulty or inability, discussions to follow (evidently due to a slowing down of the function of the primary acoustic Kortex of the due to lack of attraction)
  • Further impairments
    • Lead from self discussions to the compensation of the acoustic and social attraction poverty
    • clear loss at feeling intensity (e.g. opposite members and friends)
    • situativ euphoric feelings, which change later to a depressive tendency situation
  • Health long-term sequences
    • social contact contacts up to the inability emotional confine and long-term partnership relations to be received
    • Depressions
    • Impairment of the self value feeling
    • Widerkehren of the detention situation in dreams
    • disturbances in need of treatment of the blood pressure
    • skin diseases in need of treatment
    • Not regaining in particular cognitive abilities (e.g. within the field of mathematics), which were controlled before the solitary confinement
    • extremely be enough and solitary confinement leads to death, there the human organism in the long term seen the absence of external attractions not alone by itself (body attractions) to compensate can

In particular the long-term sequences of solitary confinement show various points of overlap with the symptoms of of the so-called survivor syndrome, which can be observed with many former prisoners, who were arrested in concentration camps.

Therapy after solitary confinement

The treatment of humans, who suffer from consequences of an arrest under Isolationsbedinungen, is possible with physical symptoms (if they are not justified primarily in a Psychosomatik) partly by medicines. Psychological and psychosomatische consequences require a Psychotherapie with a therapist specialized in the treatment of psychologically traumatisierter humans

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