New Website by Liman Center Shows Solitary Confinement’s Impact

A black-and-white photo showing a row of closed doors, each with a narrow, vertical window. The words “SEEING SOLITARY: A PROJECT OF THE LIMAN CENTER AT YALE LAW SCHOOL” are overlaid in yellow
A page from Seeing Solitary, a website from the Liman Center that provides data on solitary confinement.

The Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law has launched the online data dashboard Seeing Solitary to create a route to resources and data for understanding the role that solitary confinement plays in U.S. prisons. The site, which went live on April 4, was developed in coordination with Hyperobjekt, a digital agency focused on innovative work for social good.

The new dashboard permits insights into the scope and impact of solitary confinement in the United States. Firsthand accounts, policies, legislation, and research illuminate solitary confinements’s impact on human beings. Demographic data, shown as tables and graphs, comes from responses to surveys by state and the federal prison systems. The website provides an interactive method for learning about the number of people reported to be held in isolation and some of the conditions of confinement. This information is drawn from the series Time in Cell, published from 2014 to 2022 and available as full reports on the Liman Center website. 

“No one who hasn’t lived in solitary confinement can ‘see’ solitary,” said Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law. “Instead, this site offers opportunities for everyone — inside and out — to glimpse the parameters of the radical restrictions on normal activities and movement that should be ruled out as a permissible form of punishment.”

Seeing Solitary supports ongoing efforts by individuals and organizations throughout the country to reduce and end these “profound constraints on ordinary human movement and interaction,” according to the Liman Center. 

Seeing Solitary was created with support from Yale Law School’s Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund.