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White House Adviser On 'Devastating Consequence' Of Solitary Confinement

Kainaz Amaria/NPR
Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, at NPR's studios in Washington, D.C.

The Obama administration took another step to try to reform the country's prisons this week, banning the use of solitary confinement for juveniles and charging the Bureau of Prisons with finding alternatives to that punishment for the mentally ill.

"The impact of solitary confinement can have a devastating consequence to the psychology of the people who are affected," White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett said in an interview with NPR's Audie Cornish. Jarrett also spoke about the administration's broader push for change in the criminal justice system, including for nonviolent drug offenders.

"Our current system is definitely broken, and it's not just ... sentencing but it's also what are we doing to people while they are incarcerated?" she said. "Are we giving them the tools that they need to re-enter society successfully?"

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