“Being in isolation to me felt like I was on an island all alone…dying a slow death from the inside out…”

Letter from Kyle B. (pseudonym), from California to Human Rights Watch, 2012.

Human Rights Watch and the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) have just released ‘Growing Up Locked Down’, a 141 page report examining the plight of children in solitary confinement in US prisons. Based on research in both US jails and prisons in five states ­– Colorado, Florida, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania – and correspondence with young people in 14 others, this report is freely and publicly available here @ HRW.org:

“The isolation of solitary confinement causes anguish, provokes serious mental and physical health problems, and works against rehabilitation for teenagers…”

Here in Australia, independent public broadcaster the ABC, has recently reported on child detention in the state of Victoria – an excerpt from Josie Taylor’s 31 Oct 2012 story, ‘Aboriginal teen kept in solitary confinement’ follows:

Victorian lawyers and the Child Safety Commissioner have raised serious concerns about a 16-year-old Aboriginal boy who was held in solitary confinement at one of the state's adult jails.The teen spent nearly four months in solitary confinement at the Charlotte maximum security unit inside Port Phillip Prison while under the protection of the Department of Human Services (DHS). Legal experts now want to know how many other juveniles are inside adult jails...

More recent reports, including a social worker’s estimate, say up to six children are being kept in solitary confinement in a maximum-security adult prison in Victoria, (Oz), …on an island all alone?