Study: Convicted Killers Deserve Fresh Air, Good Care

The use of solidarity confinement in Texas prisons is criticized as "torture" in a new study by the University of Texas School of Law.

"Designed to Break You: Human Rights Violations on Texas' Death Rows" reports on the results of a year-long study. 

It is critical of the "chronic overuse of solitary confinement" in Texas prisons.

It says that "harsh conditions in Texas prisons are equivalent to torture."

State law requires that people on death row be kept behind bars alone. The report states that multiple human rights bodies organizations equate solitary confinement with torture.

The 48-page study found that prisoners spend an average of 14.5 years without contact with people and get little sunlight of fresh air.

The report accuses the Texas Department of Criminal Justice of not providing prisoners with proper medical treatment or mental health care.

It also says inmates don't have access to religious material or educational products.

The report says the state need to make these changes to accommodate death row prisoners:

--End the use of solitary confinement "immediately" -- except a last-resort measure, and only briefly if so.

--Inmates who are mental ill or have intellectual disabilities should never be placed in solitary confinement.

--Prisoners should be allowed to have physical contact when people visit.

--Inmates should have access to health care, religious services and outdoor recreation.

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