Placing Youth in Solitary Confinement Doesn't Work.

Jessica Feierman and Jenny Lutz, USA Today •

At age 15, Eddie Ellis was sent to a juvenile detention center and held in solitary confinement. According to Ellis, “The average day was a miserable day. I tried to work out. I tried to exercise. I always felt sad. I just wanted to lie down and be to myself. ... It was one of the breaking points for me as a young person.” 

Two laws passed by Congress last year — the First Step Act and the reauthorized Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act  — will help ensure that no other young people go through the agony Ellis experienced. But the strict prohibition on solitary only applies to youth in federal custody. To fully solve the problem, states must follow suit and pass laws to end solitary confinement of youth.

About the Expert