The study conducted on Central Florida's community concluded that the state should explore options that would make services more accessible and available, as well as improve the stability of the workforce. It has been found that solitary confinement does not contribute to public safety. In fact, research has revealed that those who have been in solitary confinement are more likely to commit crimes upon returning to their communities than those who have not. Other states have taken note of this and have implemented more humane and cost-effective alternatives. Housing First is a concept that values individual choice when it comes to housing selection and participation in support services.
This approach has been adopted by many states, as it has been proven to be more successful in helping people stay in their homes and improve their lives. Instead of resorting to isolation, states have implemented a series of penalties for minor disciplinary offenses, rewards for good behavior, and tension-reduction techniques to resolve conflicts and improve prison conditions. In Florida, approximately 18,000 people in the prison system were diagnosed with a mental illness that requires mental health treatment. Additionally, 47% of people in Florida prisons are black, and more than 60% of those in solitary confinement are black. This is concerning, as solitary confinement conditions may worsen mental health symptoms or cause illnesses to recur.
Unfortunately, people in solitary confinement are denied adequate access to mental health services due to prison regulations. The state of Florida should employ a variety of effective alternatives to solitary confinement in order to maintain order in its prisons. Furthermore, too many people are being admitted into Florida prisons due to the increase in sentence lengths and regulations that restrict early release. On any given day, the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) is keeping approximately 10,000 people, more than 10 percent of its population, in solitary confinement. Housing First does not require participation in services either before obtaining a home or to keep it. Unfortunately, children and young adults can remain in solitary confinement for long periods without exercise, education, contact with their families, or rehabilitation programs or services. Michael Cuebas is one example of this injustice; he spent nearly four years in solitary confinement in Florida prisons.
The state of Florida must take action to ensure that its citizens are not subjected to such cruel and unusual punishment. To improve the lives of those living within Central Florida's community, alternatives such as Housing First should be explored and implemented. By doing so, the state can guarantee that its citizens receive the care they need and deserve.