Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


Solitary confinement is a tool used by the American prison system without a sufficient check on its application. Current practice provides that an inmate's solitary confinement is reviewed at regular intervals by Executive-branch prison administrators. They have employed it to enforce discipline and order in the prison population, but simultaneously have ridden roughshod over inmates' substantive due process rights by failing to provide a meaningful opportunity for a hearing of the facts and justifications for the continued and prolonged solitary confinement of prison inmates. Many, too many inmates have been kept in solitary confinement for extended periods-some for decades-without any meaningful review of their subjugation by the courts. The article makes several recommendations that would alleviate this abdication of justice and deprivation of constitutional rights.