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Friday, February 21, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Limiting Solitary Confinement

     New York State has agreed to sweeping reforms intended to curtail the widespread use of solitary confinement, including prohibiting its use in disciplining prisoners under 18. In doing so, New York becomes the largest prison system in the United States to prohibit the use of disciplinary confinement for minors, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, which represented the three prisoners whose lawsuit led to the agreement cited in court papers filed on February 19, 2014.

     State correction officials will also be prohibited from imposing solitary confinement as a disciplinary measure for inmates who are pregnant, and the punishment will be limited to 30 days for those who are developmentally disabled. [That's about half the prison population.]…

     The agreement imposes "sentencing guidelines" for all prisoners, specifying the length of solitary confinement allowed for different infractions and, for the first time in all cases, a maximum length that such sentences may run….

     Several states, including Colorado, Mississippi and Washington, are looking into how to reduce the use of solitary confinement….

Benjamin Weiser, "New York State in Deal to Limit Solitary Confinement," The New York Times, February 19, 2014


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