Disabled by Solitude: The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Its Impact on the Use of Supermax Solitary Confinement
44 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2011 Last revised: 24 Feb 2013
Date Written: September 7, 2011
As the first human rights treaty of the twenty-first century, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) aims to protect the world’s largest minority — some 650 million people in the world living with a disability. While the major concern of the CRPD is to protect the rights and development of people with disabilities, this article argues that the use of supermax facilities is inconsistent with the CRPD because it produces a mental disability in prisoners.
Part I of this article describes the procedural history of the CRPD. Part II discusses the background of the CRPD and the concept of disablement. Part III presents the history and current use of solitary confinement in the United States. Part IV discusses the medical and psychological effects of supermax solitary confinement and the implications of those effects in reference to the CRPD. Following that, Part V explains an additional avenue of relief for inmates under Article 15 of the CRPD. Lastly, Part VI analyzes possible reservations, understandings, and other procedural mechanisms that the United States might employ in order to limit the effect of a possible ratification of the CRPD.
Keywords: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, solitary confinement, disablement, supermax, disability
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