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Solitary Confinement And Mental Health: The Case of Devon Davis

Is the North Carolina Department of Public Safety breaking its own rules? A 2016 policy change prohibits inmates with mental health issues from being held in solitary confinement for more than 30 days. So why was Devon Davis, who is developmentally delayed and has mental illness, kept in solitary for more than five months last year?

This is on top of the fact that he had to wait nearly four months to receive his medications. Taylor Knopf of North Carolina Health News has been following Davis’ story for years and notes that this is not the first time his mental health has been disregarded by the prison system.

In 2016, Knopf did a two-part series on Davis after he was held in solitary for over 1,000 days where he experienced hallucinations and heard voices. After Knopf’s exposé, new policies were introduced for suicide prevention and reducing solitary confinement for juvenile offenders. Knopf joins host Frank Stasio with an update on Davis and how things have changed since her series.

Dana is an award-winning producer who began as a personality at Rock 92. Once she started creating content for morning shows, she developed a love for producing. Dana has written and produced for local and syndicated commercial radio for over a decade. WUNC is her debut into public radio and she’s excited to tell deeper, richer stories.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.