148. Solitary Confinement and Criminal Justice Reform with Taylor Pendergrass

Criminal Justice Reform is an important, and often overlooked element of Racial Justice. In the U.S., Black men are significantly more likely to be incarcerated. Individuals in the criminal justice system are likely to experience inhumane and dehumanizing practices, including solitary confinement. Severe social isolation can have a harmful long-term impact on physical and mental health. 

In this eye-opening episode, Debbie speaks with Taylor Pendergrass, an ACLU lawyer dedicated to criminal justice reform and co-editor of Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary. The book includes a collection of the rarely heard personal stories of people who have experienced long-term solitary confinement. In the episode, Taylor and Debbie discuss mental health, incarceration, and why we need to end the dehumanizing practice of long-term solitary confinement in the United States. 

Listen and Learn:

  • Why solitary confinement is used in the U.S, and why long-term solitary confinement is a problem.
  • About “SHU syndrome,” and the long-lasting psychological and physical effects of isolation on humans. 
  • Why mental health units are a more effective, humane alternative.
  • What conditions are like in solitary confinement cells. 
  • What we can learn from European prison systems.
  • How you can help promote criminal justice reform! 

About Taylor Pendergrass

Taylor Pendergrass

Taylor Pendergrass is a lawyer and activist who works on criminal justice reform for the ACLU. He has spent over a decade collecting stories of people who have been impacted by the criminal justice system. Along with Mateo Hoke, Taylor co-edited the book Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary which, through personal history narratives gives readers a better understanding of the horribly dehumanizing impact of solitary confinement on people’s lives. Taylor has a BA in Environmental Policy from Duke University and earned his law degree from the University of Colorado Law School. 


Join the discussion

Instagram feed @offtheclockpsych

Instagram has returned empty data. Please authorize your Instagram account in the plugin settings .


Episode 148