Is solitary confinement cruel and unusual punishment?

Posted March 08, 2010, at 1 p.m.

A legislative committee has split over a proposal to limit the use of solitary confinement in Maine’s prisons. Proponents of the limits say the punishment undermines the effort to rehabilitate prisoners, and is needlessly cruel and dehumanizing. Opponents of the limits say it is a necessary response to protect both inmates and guards. Who is right? Should our prisons work harder at rehabilitating inmates, and include more counseling?