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HomeVideoHow the U.S. Became the World Leader in Solitary Confinement | Last...

How the U.S. Became the World Leader in Solitary Confinement | Last Days of Solitary | FRONTLINE

When solitary confinement was first introduced in America in the late 18th century, it wasn’t intended to be a punishment.

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In fact, solitary was first put into practice at U.S. prisons by a pacifist spiritual community called the Quakers, as part of an experiment to improve prison conditions and rehabilitate inmates.

Go inside the surprising history of solitary in this excerpt from FRONTLINE’s “Last Days of Solitary,” premiering Tues. April 18th at 9 p.m. EST / 8 p.m. CST on PBS and online:


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FRONTLINE is made possible by PBS and CPB. Major support is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional support is provided by Ford FOundation, the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, the Wyncote Foundation and Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.