I was glad to read The Post’s coverage of Virginia’s efforts to investigate and potentially reduce its heavy reliance on solitary confinement [“Virginia plans to modify prisoner isolation,” front page, March 30]. I was dismayed, however, to read that the director of the Corrections Department denies the existence of solitary confinement in the United States, saying that there is only “segregation” in prisons.

Whatever it is termed, when inmates are kept alone in a cell for 23 hours a day, with little human contact and often no form of activity, for months to years on end, long-term damage ensues. In the opinion of the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, the practice of such isolation can amount to torture.

Pat Davis, Great Falls

The writer is president of the board of directors of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International.