Another day, another Guardian article on why solitary confinement is bad. If you don't know what it is, it's basically when convicts keep murdering/attacking/raping people whilst in prison, and the prison guards lock them up in a room and don't let em out until they're super positive that they're no longer gonna hurt anyone. Here is the article in question, and for a fun game, attempt to pick out the number of times it's mentioned why these poor people are actually either in prison, or being put in solitary confinement cells:
Now, it strikes me as kinda stupid to write an article about an issue like this for a newspaper, but then completely leave out key facts as to why solitary confinement exists in the first place. It's there because if solitary confinement didn't exist, prisons would basically be swimming pools full of blood. And that's not a metaphor, I'm not being all poetic there. I'm being literal. Solitary confinement is solely a way of stopping prisoners from killing each other, and the most results-effective and cost-effective way of doing that on a mass scale is to put them in a holding cell by themselves. These cells exist in every single high security prison in the world for a reason.
The traditional liberal position (and I'm about as bleeding heart lib as they get, so trust me, I get it) is that it amounts to torture, therefore it must be stopped. And yes, it does, there's no question about it. It's totally torture. But it's not an issue that can be considered in a vacuum, as the other side of this story is this: if it wasn't for solitary confinement cells, people who went to prison for non-violent offences would get raped and killed all the time. 24/7. Nothing would ever be able to stop such attacks. How else can you stop convicts attacking each other in prison, other than solitary confinement? There is no other way. All you can do is keep them locked up rather than allowing them to eat/have breaks with the other prisoners.
So this issue comes down to, not "is solitary confinement torture?". It's "who do we care about more: the 17 year old prisoner who went to jail for hacking and ends up being used as currency v.s. the rapist-murderer-psychotic who uses other prisoners as currency".