Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Solitary Confinement Is a “Challenge for Medical Ethics” � Solitary Watch

Solitary Confinement Is a “Challenge for Medical Ethics” � Solitary Watch: "Anyone interested in solitary confinement should be aware of this article in the most recent issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law: “Solitary Confinement and Mental Illness in U.S. Prisons: A Challenge for Medical Ethics,” by Jeffrey L. Metzner, MD and Jamie Fellner, Esq. Metzner is a respected forensic psychiatrist and professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine; Fellner is senior counsel in the U.S. Program of Human Rights Watch.

Several professional organizations and activist groups made up of medical and mental health practitioners have condemned the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo and elsewhere in the so-called war on terror. In particular, they have denounced the idea that members of their professions should play any role in that treatment. But as Metzner and Fellner point out, there has been “scant professional or academic attention to the unique ethics-related quandary of physicians and other health-care professionals when prisons isolate inmates with mental illness.” This despite the fact that for some prisoners, “isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture.”"

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