Seclusion or solitary confinement: therapeutic or punitive treatment? Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper is a review of the age-old problem of seclusion in relation to the prison practice of solitary confinement. The article challenges the stance that seclusion is a therapeutic intervention and it questions the idea that security is compromised when seclusion practices are reduced. The paper explores what appears to be semantic rather than fundamental differences between these two containment practices and suggests that staff attitudes, including a unit's culture, remain crucial factors in determining seclusion practices and not, as one might expect, patient behaviours. Alternatives to seclusion are explored.

publication date

  • January 1, 1996