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By: Paul Atkinson on 04/03/2012
Amnesty International is calling for changes in how Arizona prisons use solitary confinement. It comes as the group releases a report criticizing what it calls cruel treatment that violates basic human rights. From Phoenix, KJZZ’s Paul Atkinson reports.
The Arizona Department of Corrections houses the most dangerous and difficult inmates in a specially built prison.
Amnesty International wasn’t allowed to see the facility, but talked to prisoners, current and former prison staff and prison advocates to prepare its report.
It found more than two-thousand inmates are held in small, windowless cells for up to 24 hours a day. The report says the conditions "constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in violation of international law."
Unless inmates pose a danger to themselves and others, Amnesty International wants the Department of Corrections to reduce the use of isolation cells. It also asks that inmates subjected to them be offered educational and rehabilitative programs, and better medical and mental health care.
The Department of Corrections declined to comment citing ongoing litigation.