US President Barack Obama has said he will ban solitary confinement as a form of punishment for juvenile and low-level offenders in federal prisons.
He said solitary confinement has the potential to cause “lasting psychological consequences” for inmates.
The reforms would affect about 10,000 inmates who are serving time in isolation in the federal system.
Treatments for the mentally ill would also be expanded under the reforms.
“Some studies indicate that it can worsen existing mental illnesses and even trigger new ones,” Mr Obama wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post. “Prisoners in solitary are more likely to commit suicide, especially juveniles and people with mental illnesses.”
The reforms were born out of a review of solitary confinement ordered by Mr Obama last summer, which resulted in a host of recommendations aimed at decreasing the use of solitary confinement.
In his op-ed, Mr Obama noted the case of Kalief Browder, who was arrested at age 16 on suspicion of stealing a backpack.
He was jailed for three years without a trial – at times in solitary confinement – before being released in 2013, before killing himself last year.


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