Solitary confinement is torture


We will end long-term solitary confinement in the United States within the next 10 years.

The Unlock the Box Campaign is a coalition of organizations and movement leaders who partner with state and local campaigns across the United States with the common goal of ending the use of solitary confinement for all people.


We aspire to a world without cages; and as part of the work to dismantle unjust systems, we envision a nation that respects the human rights and dignity of all justice-involved people and rejects the use of torture.


We provide a national voice on solitary confinement while providing anti-solitary organizations across the country with funding, strategic support, and technical assistance to secure meaningful policy change.


We are a community-first campaign that empowers survivors of solitary confinement, families of individuals in solitary, and local advocacy groups to develop and lead their own campaigns to end solitary.


The United Nations, along with the world’s foremost voices on human rights, civil rights, and public health, including people who have been locked in solitary, all say YES. An overwhelming body of evidence shows the devastating harm solitary confinement causes to the people who endure it, as well as their families and communities. People subjected to solitary often experience physical pain, neurological damage, and symptoms from depression and anxiety to psychosis, and they are far more likely to commit self-harm or suicide.

it’s like being



Statistics help expose the widespread use and devastating impact of solitary confinement in the United States.

For more research on the use and impact of solitary confinement, explore our Resources page.


Unlock The Box is currently active in 18 states, but we are quickly expanding across the nation. If you are interested in developing an anti-solitary campaign in another state, we want to hear from you! Please contact us today.


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Recognizing that prolonged solitary confinement can cause serious harm to prisoners, it has long been considered a form of torture. As a person of faith, I oppose the use of prolonged solitary confinement.

Experts estimate that tens of thousands of prisoners in the U.S. criminal justice system are currently being held in solitary confinement. The vast majority of these inmates are detained in state prison facilities. Prisoners held in solitary confinement are often detained in a cell by themselves for 23 hours a day. Some prisoners are kept in these conditions for months, years, or even decades. Medical experts have stated that prisoners held in isolation for extended periods experience symptoms akin to delirium, and the impact on mentally ill prisoners is especially damaging. Alarmingly, these prisoners are sometimes released from solitary confinement units directly to their communities when they complete their prison sentence.

We need to invest in humane alternatives that address the mental health needs of prisoners in a way that effectively contributes both to their rehabilitation and to their successful transition back into society. Because holding prisoners in solitary confinement units is significantly more expensive than keeping them in the general prison population, instituting humane alternatives makes sense, both financially and morally.

We must end the use of prolonged solitary confinement in all 50 states and the federal prison system. It is costly, inhumane and ineffective; it harms prisoners and our communities. I call upon state legislators and departments of corrections to begin now to take steps to end prolonged solitary confinement.

She was raped by a prison guard.

When authorities found out she was pregnant, they threw her in solitary confinement- -with no mattress.  Then, they tried to force her to abort her child against her will. 

Join Laura's fight to end solitary