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Unconstitutional Solitude

Solitary Confinement and the US Constitution’s Evolving Standards of Decency

Authors: Eastaugh, Charlie

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  • Argues that solitary confinement, as practiced in the United States, is unconstitutional under the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society
  • Combines professional (medico-legal) consensus with comparative legal standards found in UN instruments and regional human rights systems
  • Uses moral theory to frame a practical, constitutional attack on solitary confinement
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eBook 91,62 €
price for India (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-61735-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 109,99 €
price for India (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-61734-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover 109,99 €
price for India (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-87148-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book examines American solitary confinement – in which around 100,000 prisoners are held at any one time – and argues that under a moral reading of individual rights such punishment is not only a matter of public interest, but requires close constitutional scrutiny. While Eighth Amendment precedent has otherwise experienced a generational fixation on the death penalty, this book argues that such scrutiny must be extended to the hidden corners of the US prison system.

Despite significant reforms to capital sentencing by the executive and legislative branches, Eastaugh shows how the American prison system as a whole has escaped meaningful judicial oversight. Drawing on a wide range of socio-political contexts in order to breathe meaning into the moral principles underlying the punishments clause, the study includes an extensive review of professional (medico-legal) consensus and comparative transnational human rights standards united against prolonged solitary confinement. Ultimately, Eastaugh argues that this practice is unconstitutional. An informed and empowering text, this book will be of particular interest to scholars of law, punishment, and the criminal justice system.



About the authors

Dr Charlie Eastaugh is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Surrey School of Law, UK.

Reviews

“Solitary confinement is barbaric - at most, society has the right to send people to prison as a punishment, not to be punished. This is surely the next major issue after the death penalty, and this book is a very useful contribution to the debate.”(Clive Stafford Smith OBE, Human Rights lawyer, and Founder of Reprieve)

“Charlie Eastaugh’s “Unconstitutional Solitude” provides a fascinating analysis of the use of solitary confinement from historical, legal, constitutional, international, policy, and moral perspectives.  Dr Eastaugh makes a convincing case for the failures of the practice, while he also provides a useful resource for those challenging the use of solitary confinement.” (Prof Jeffrey L Kirchmeier, CUNY School of Law, US, and author of Imprisoned by the Past)

“A bold effort to rethink the jurisprudence of the 8th Amendment … well organized and researched and extremely timely … there is no book currently occupying the same space.” (Prof Jonathan Simon, UC Berkeley, US, and author of Mass Incarceration on Trial)

“A crucially important jurisprudential analysis of how solitary confinement in United States prisons furnishes a systematic degradation of the human dignity of those incarcerated. Charlie Eastaugh provides an illuminating study taking the reader through the key features of the US Supreme Court’s jurisprudence, and the state practice of solitary confinement. He successfully utilises the corpus of reasoning on what is cruel and unusual punishment to shed light on this repugnant and inhumane aspect of the US prison system.” (Prof Jon Yorke, Birmingham City University, UK, and Director of the Centre for Human Rights)

“A devastating indictment of a practice that is fundamentally at odds with the constitutional requirement to respect the dignity of all persons … Eastaugh makes a valuable contribution to emerging academic and legal debates … a compelling case. By contextualizing the use and impact of solitary confinement within the broader landscape of harsh punishment—including mass incarceration and the death penalty—this book sheds light on a practice that is often kept away from the gaze of the public. It is a must-read for anyone interested in punishment, and the injustice of condemning people to a life barely worth living.” (Dr Bharat Malkani, Birmingham Law School, UK)

"If capital punishment is about inflicting death and life without parole is about letting die, then solitary confinement is about extending the process of death, emotionally, psychologically, and eventually physically. Charlie Eastaugh's book convincingly shows that solitary confinement's harm to prisoners and the community vastly outweighs any marginal penological benefit. He unites theory with local and global practice to show that the Eighth Amendment prohibits such an inhumane and undignified punishment." (Dr Andrew Novak, George Mason University, US)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook 91,62 €
price for India (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-61735-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 109,99 €
price for India (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-61734-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover 109,99 €
price for India (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-87148-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Unconstitutional Solitude
Book Subtitle
Solitary Confinement and the US Constitution’s Evolving Standards of Decency
Authors
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-61735-0
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-61735-0
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-61734-3
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-87148-6
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVIII, 233
Topics