Review | Staff shortages, solitary confinement increase risks for federal prisoners and public

The Washington Post: Once again, Uncle Sam has demonstrated that skimping on his workforce is a good way to cheat his consumers.

In this case, the unwilling consumers are a group who generate little sympathy and exercise even less power — prisoners.

A new report from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog shows how understaffed mental health services for particularly vulnerable inmates, coupled with discredited solitary confinement conditions, can ricochet on the law-abiding.

“First, although the BOP (Bureau of Prisons) has stated that it does not practice solitary confinement,” said Inspector General Michael Horowitz, “we found inmates, including those with mental illness, who were housed in single-cell confinement for long periods of time, isolated from other inmates, with limited human contact.”

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