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Florida’s troubled teens don’t belong in ‘the hole’ | Opinion Special to the Sun Sentinel
The use of solitary confinement for children and juveniles has been prohibited in federal prisons, but Florida continues this practice, despite its harmful effects.
The “hole,” as solitary confinement is often called, consists of tiny cells where young offenders are placed in isolation for 22 to 24 hours a day. For weeks or months at a time, incarcerated youth are deprived of meaningful social contact, recreational activities, education and even sunlight.
Catherine Jones was 14 when she was sent to Lowell Correctional Institution, an adult women’s prison in Florida. Because she was so young and the prison did not have housing for juveniles, she was put in solitary confinement for four months in part to separate her from the general inmate population.
“This was supposedly for my safety, but emotionally and mentally it affected me in ways far worse,” Catherine said.