You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Young inmates should not be held in isolation, report says

NEW YORK — State governments should abolish the use of solitary confinement for offenders under 18, whether as a punitive or protective measure, two leading advocates for prisoners’ rights said in report.

Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union said brief periods of isolation may be needed as a security measure. But they contend that longer spans of solitary confinement can cause serious psychological and physical harm to young people, including heightened risk of suicide.

Continue reading below

Solitary confinement of adults also can be harmful, the report said. ‘‘But the potential damage to young people, who do not have the maturity of an adult and are at a particularly vulnerable, formative stage of life, is much greater.’’

The report, ‘‘Growing Up Locked Down,’’ said lack of detailed state data made it impossible to estimate the number of juveniles subjected to solitary confinement and other forms of isolation at any given time. But it described the practice as widespread, notably among juveniles held in adult facilities.

The report cited psychiatric studies and medical specialists warning of the risks that solitary confinement could pose to juveniles. It included input from 49 people who spent time in jails or prisons as minors.

The report’s author, human rights researcher Ian Kysel, acknowledged that young people can present serious challenges for corrections officials.

His report also says youths shouldn’t be serving time in adult jails and prisons.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.