Solitary prison

Solitary confinement has detrimental psychological effects on a prisoner in addition to encouraging them to conduct more crimes. In the movie Solitary Nation, the prisoner who was sentenced to jail for setting fires describes his ordeal. According to the inmate, being in a solitary cell is like being buried alive and in a place where no one desires you. (Edge). This article examines the documentary's rhetorical devices and how well they work to persuade the viewer.

The prisoners' behavior gets worse when they are placed in solitary. The 54-minute movie shows that about 80,000 prisoners in America alone are housed in isolation. (Edge). The isolation was initiated to make the prisons safe and also punish the inmates. There is an evidence of an inmate earnestly trying to open his cell’s door to no avail. Another one is wounded up and assaulted by the correctional officers after attacking a warden and put in solitary confinement as a result (Edge). It is evident that the prisoners end up plotting their next move and this makes them more dangerous. The documentary also reveals that the inmates in the solitary cells always attack the wardens that look after them; they pour bodily fluids through their air spaces and regularly cut themselves with razor blades. It is hence worth reconsidering the solitary confinement because it harms not only the prisoner but also the society.


The documentary begins by illustrating how the isolated cell looks like and its approximate measurements (Edge). It is indeed a small cell that mentally punishes the inmate. The inmate's words make the viewer resonates with their experiences in the cells, and it is evidently mentally torturing. There are several scenes in the documentary such as an inmate cutting his vein and almost bleeding to death, others hurl expletives through their doors and others flooding the cells with bodily fluids. Gordon Perry, a prisoner, notes that being in a solitary cell in Maine state prison makes one suicidal. Some scenes of detainees hurting themselves and even using their blood to write on the wall is scary. The use of pathos is indeed fair because it presents the real life of an inmate in such a cell and it also calls attention to the federal government to abolish such cells.


Solitary is not the best way to correct an inmate’s behavior. Ronald Joncas, an inmate in the documentary, notes that it is illogical to expect the inmates to behave as humans yet they are treated like animals while in jail (Edge). The idleness in the cells prompts the prisoners to do the craziest of things including cutting and even sacking their ball, such an inmate may end up crazy after the jail term, and the prison, therefore, fails in its objective which is correcting the behavior (Edge). The filmmaker aims to draw the attention of the federal government and the state of the prisons in America. Solitary cells should be minimally used so that they serve as a corrective measure and not making the inmates worse. The information is accurate because it is based on real life experiences. In 2014, a prisoner that had been released from the solitary confinement stabbed a fellow inmate eighty-seven times and killed him. The prison wardens, however, feel that the isolation ensures that the most dangerous prisoners do not harm others which open a Pandora box on the same issue.


Indeed, solitary confinements only make the prisoners worse than they came in. While indeed they can help to prevent violence among the inmates, it leaves them worse once they are released. Such prisoners may begin having nightmares, hallucinations, delirium and suicidal thoughts. As a matter fact, most of the deaths reported in the prisons are from solitary cells. It is even worse for the inmates that have some mental disease as their situation deteriorates while in there. Solitary confinement, therefore, fails as a corrective move.

Work Cited

Dan Edge. “Solitary Nation.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 22 Apr. 2014, Accessed 21 Apr. 2017.

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