Congress Passes Two Laws Limiting Youth Solitary

In December 2018, Congress took an important step toward ending youth solitary by passing two important federal laws.

The First Step Act (FSA), S.3747, prohibits federal facilities from using solitary as punishment and permits solitary only when youth behavior poses a risk of immediate physical harm and never for longer than three hours.

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), H.R. 6964, now requires state data on restraints and isolation. It also requires states to describe their strategies to reduce isolation, and calls for federal training to support these goals. Critically, the JJDPA also prohibits states from holding youth in adult jails, except in narrow circumstances.

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