49 DePaul L. Rev. 567 (1999-2000)
The Eighth Amendment and Solitary Confinement: The Gap in Protection from Psychological Consequences

handle is hein.journals/deplr49 and id is 577 raw text is: THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT AND SOLITARY
CONFINEMENT: THE GAP IN PROTECTION FROM
PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES
INTRODUCrION
The purposes and conditions of Tamms Correctional Center
(Tamms), which is located in Tamms, Illinois, a town at the south-
ern-most tip of Illinois, can best be described by two stories. Both
stories-one from the perspective of the Department of Corrections,
the other from the perspective of the inmates-reveal the disturbing
nature of solitary confinement as implemented in super maximum se-
curity (supermax) prisons' such as Tamms and those like it through-
out the United States. These stories were brought to light by a class
action lawsuit filed on January 6, 1999, by several Tamms inmates on
behalf of all seriously mentally ill prisoners at Tamms against the
prison warden, the prison psychologist, the Department of Correc-
tions' Director, and six other prison system employees.2 The purpose
of the lawsuit is to challenge the conditions of extreme social isola-
tion, restricted environmental stimulation, severely restricted move-
ment and harsh punishment for problematic behavior caused by their
illnesses .... -3 The inmates seek monetary damages, an injunction,
and a ruling that, among other things, Tamms' procedures ignore pro-
tections against cruel and unusual punishment.4
This Comment examines the judiciary's refusal to extend Eighth
Amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment to cases
alleging the inhumane psychological effects of confinement. Part I
presents the two stories of the Tamms facility, that of the inmates, and
that of the Department of Corrections.5 Part II reviews the purposes
1. Supermaximum security facilities are facilities fostering extreme social isolation, reduced
environmental stimulus, scant recreational, vocational, or educational opportunity, and ex-
traordinary levels of surveillance and control. Prisoners are locked alone in their cells between
twenty-two and twenty-three-and-a-half hours a day. They eat and exercise alone. HUMAN
RIGHTs WATCH, COLD STORAGE: SUPERMAXIMUM SECURITY CONFINEMENT IN INDIANA 1
(1997).
2. See R.B. v. Washington, No. 99C 0056 at   2 (E.D. Ill. filed Jan. 7, 1999) [hereinafter Com-
plaint]. However, only four inmates are actually named as members of the class action on the
complaint. See id.
3. Complaint at   2.
4. Complaint at   86.
5. See infra notes 11-49 and accompanying text.

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