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Florida Accused In Class-Action Lawsuit Of Overusing Solitary Confinement In Prisons

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Michael Coghlan
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed challenging the use of solitary confinement in Florida prisons.

Florida corrections officials are overusing the practice of solitary confinement in the state’s prisons, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A growing body of medical evidence shows extended periods of solitary confinement can lead to suicidal thoughts and can cause permanent psychological damage.

“Solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment, it violates the 8th Amendment to the federal Constitution. And we say that because the impact of solitary confinement on individuals, there’s a substantial risk of mental health damage,” said Shalini Goel Agarwal, a supervising attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Nationwide, about 4.5 % of the prison population is in solitary. In Florida it’s more than double that with about 10 percent of the population in solitary.

Agarwal spoke about the topic on Tuesday’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross. The full audio interview can be heard here.

Melissa Ross can be reached at, 904-358-6382 or on Twitter at @MelissainJax.

Photo used under Creative Commons license.

Copyright 2020 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit .

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.