Thursday, April 19, 2012

Solitary Confinement for Juveniles

Earlier this week, the Public Safety Committee killed SB 1363, a bill that would disallow subjecting any minors, whether in prison or in jail, to solitary confinement, unless they pose an immediate and substantial risk or harm to others and other options have been exhausted. Even in the latter case, the juvenile would have to be constantly evaluated.

Activists are making one more push for it this coming Tuesday. Linda Roldan's post on the Ella Baker Center blog, A Mother's Nightmare, offers a personal perspective on the immense harms of solitary confinement for minors.

My son is not a tough kid and wasn’t ready for the gladiator school called DJJ. On his very first day, he was beat up. He’s seen things he should never see, like kids fighting each other and guards assaulting and pepper-spraying kids on a daily basis. After experiencing solitary confinement, violence, and humiliation by guards, he now suffers from severe depression and hallucinations. He never had serious mental health issues before. Now he is suicidal.

We'll keep you posted as to the status of the bill.


Ashley said...

Thank you for this post! I did not know about this...solitary confinement for minors?! Sounds pretty scary to me...not sure if that's the best approach.

Anonymous said...

The bill also has additional safeguards- for example, youth with mental health issues can't be held in solitary confinement for extended periods - they have to be transferred to a hospital