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FEATURING KERAMET REITER – The practice of solitary confinement inside US prisons is such a pervasive and impactful one that you might guess it was put in place purposefully, after careful thought and legislative oversight. After all, keeping a prisoner completely isolated for 23 out of 24 hours a day, for years on end, is perhaps the most severe form of punishment.

It should shock us all then to learn that there was no real forethought put into the use of solitary confinement. Now, a new book based on 15 years of research chronicles just how this system of punishment came to be widely used.

Keramet Reiter, Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society at the School of Law at University of California, Irvine. She has also been an associate at Human Rights Watch and testified about the impacts of solitary confinement before state and federal legislators. Her new book is called 23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long Term Solitary Confinement.

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