Research report: Solitary Confinement Is Torture

SWEDHR Research & Report. Vol 1., No 5

Solitary confinement not only is clearly categorized among torture methods, but also, as a severe stressor, eventually leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicidal behaviour. In the sample studied, prisoners with PTSD caused by imprisonment in a solitary cell, suffocation or detention in narrow confinement, developed suicidal behaviour associated with hanging or asphyxia. The findings by Ferrada de Noli et al. (papers 12, ) were  published  in Journal of Traumatic Stress.

“According to the Swedish Prison and Probation Service, in July approximately 45 percent of pretrial detainees were subject to extended isolation or to restrictions on mail delivery or exercise.” / U.S. Department of State: “2010 Human Rights Report: Sweden

 

La tortura 1969 y 1973

Image above: La Tortura, by Arte de Noli

Editor’s Note

Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli shares here these research findings published, together with a group of Swedish medical researchers,  in the Journal of Traumatic StressThe clinical-psychiatric findings show that solitary confinement not only is clearly categorized among torture methods, but serving as severe stressor, eventually leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicidal behaviour.
These discoveries were also done with the collaboration of internationally known scientists in the fields of clinical psychiatry, forensic pathology and traumatic stress. Among others Professor of Psychiatry Marie Åsberg (formerly chairman of the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute, and precursor of the world known Serotonin discoveries in association with depression and suicidal behaviour (5-HIAA in the cerebrospinal fluid as biochemical suicide predictor), Professor of Forensic Medicine Kari Ormstad, Norway, and Professor of Psychology Elisabet Sunbom of the University of Umeå.
Prof. Ferrada de Noli  devoted much of his professional life-span on this subject after to study these phenomena among former political prisoners.  He was himself a witness to these traumatic events inflicted on hundreds of prisoners in the Prisoners Camp of Quiriquina Island, The Football Stadium and in the Detention and Torture Centre set up 1973 by Pinochet’s Marine Corps in the Borgoño Garrison in Concepción.  His first personal experience in a solitary cell had occurred earlier in August 1969, after a detention warrant issued by the Christian Democratic government of President Eduardo Frei against 13 leaders of the organization Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) [El Mercurio, “A Través de la Historia Terrorista del Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria”, 23/7/1973]. / Dr. Armando Popa.

 

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