By Frank Knaack Associate Director of Public Policy and Advocacy Under Texas law, children as young as fourteen can be tried as an adult and held in solitary confinement, even before they even have their day in court. Many are found innocent, yet have spent a year or more of their young lives in solitary confinement. This is inhumane treatment that also undermines the rehabilitative purpose of incarceration. And, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture agrees, in fact Juan E. Méndez went one step further – he said it “can amount to torture[.]” Yesterday, Professor Méndez called on countries to ban the solitary confinement of prisoners (with minor exceptions) and called for an absolute prohibition in the case of juveniles and people with mental disabilities. As he stated, “[c]onsidering the severe mental pain or suffering solitary confinement may cause, it can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment when used as a punishment, during pre-trial detention, indefinitely or for a prolonged period, for persons with mental disabilities or juveniles[.]” In Texas, juveniles can be held in solitary confinement until they turn 17 years old. In addition to suffering extreme mental anguish, these children are also denied the opportunity to participate in religious services and school. Furthermore, in these tough economic times, we should also remember that placing children in solitary confinement is much more expensive than holding them in facilities with other children. Ending this barbaric practice is one of our (recently launched) Youth Rights Campaign priorities, and we can use your help! Please, join our Community Action Network and help ensure that no more children are subjected to this inhumane practice!