Some prisoners act out so violently against other prisoners and guards that the need to be isolated. And there need to be punishments for offenses committed in prison.
That said, there certainly aren’t 25,000 people who need to be isolated for prolonged periods. But that’s the current estimated population of “SuperMax” prisons and prison wings in the United States. (That doesn’t count the larger population isolated in “Segregated Housing Unites” – SHUs – otherwise known as “The Hole.”)
And even when long-term isolation is necessary, it doesn’t have to look like a SuperMax, which inflicts torture via sensory deprivation. No one – no one – should be subjected to such treatment.
I have no idea of the legal merits of the legal case against the Federal SuperMax at Florence, CO: the lawless law-n-order faction in Congress has made prisoners’-rights litigation almost impossible to win. But here’s hoping that Judge Matsch figures out a way to shut it down.