The destructive impact, at exorbitant fiscal and social costs, of prison solitary confinement was the focus of recent Senate Subcommittee hearings chaired by Senate Richard Durbin (D-IL.). Since 2010, when the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights first held hearings which exposed the emotional toll of prison solitary confinement, Senator Durbin has called for strict limits on its use by prison authorities. At this week’s hearings he firmly reiterated that solitary confinement is "a human rights issue we can't ignore." On “All Things Considered,” NPR Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson highlights the key issues raised during expert testimony before the committee and notes that:
"In the last couple of years, a lot of factors have come together," Carrie tells Melissa Block on All things Considered. …"There have been efforts by states to save a lot of money and reduce violence in prisons," Carrie says. "And also, a critical mass of advocacy by the ACLU and some researchers," she says, along with bipartisan interest in the issue.