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SEATTLE -- Washington prison officials are rethinking solitary confinement.

They have found that locking up prisoners alone for 23 hours a day tends to make mentally ill and violent inmates worse and more likely to cause trouble when they are released.

Putting them in treatment or classes appears to calm behavior. It's also cheaper than solitary.

The Seattle Times reports (http://bit.ly/ZCK5cB ) Washington prisons are at the forefront of the new approach at intensive management units at prisons at Clallam Bay, Monroe and Walla Walla.

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