There are very few people who feel sorry for Aaron Hernandez as evidence continues to pile up against the former New England Patriots tight end. The American Civil Liberties Union is apparently an exception.
Hernandez has been kept in solitary confinement at the Bristol County House of Corrections since he was arrested over a week ago. He is kept in his cell for 20 hours a day and has his meals brought to him. Last week, the ACLU wrote a blog post likening Hernandez’s situation in jail to “torture,” noting that our legal system is based upon the concept of innocent until proven guilty.
Extreme isolation can have debilitating psychological effects. Prisoners locked alone in solitary confinement may become depressed or begin hallucinating. Psychologists have said that the effects of prolonged solitary confinement can be irreversible, and an emerging international community has begun to recognize solitary confinement as a form of torture.
Sadly, what’s happening to Hernandez is not a rarity in our criminal justice system. There are more than 80,000 prisoners in solitary confinement across the country. They remain isolated for weeks and sometimes years on end, often without the press attention Hernandez’s case has gotten.
Hernandez has been described as a “model inmate” and denied being affiliated with any gangs, but the sheriff has decided to keep him in isolation because of the high profile nature of the case. The ACLU argues that protective custody “drastically diminishes the chances for rehabilitation.”
If the evidence against Hernandez in the Odin Lloyd murder case wasn’t so compelling (and he wasn’t being investigated for a possible role in other shootings), people might feel more sympathy toward the 23-year-old. But as of now, it’s difficult for the public to view his situation as a black and white case of innocent until proven guilty.
H/T FOX 25 BostonGoogle+