This issue brief on the use of isolation chronicles the effort and results of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators training and technical support to specific jurisdictions through OJJDP and Center for Coordinated
This brief offers agency administrators tangible alternative tools to the use of isolation.
This report, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation is a follow-up to No Place For Kids, a 2011 report on harms of incarcerating youth. The new report introduces evidence on the widespread maltreatment of youth in state-funded juvenile corrections facilities, including the use of isolation. The report notes that “a number of new revelations have emerged showing egregious overuse of isolation, often in harsh circumstances and without constitutionally required due process protections.”
On June 23, 2016, the DOJ announced a settlement with Hinds County Jail in Mississippi in that restricts the use of solitary for youth and adults, including the prohibiting segregation as punishment for youth. Segregation may only be used in situations of imminent harm, and even then the settlement imposes restrictions and documentation requirements. In May 2015, the DOJ issued a findings letter noting the inappropriate use of isolation in the facility.
On April 19, 2016, OJJDP Administrator Robert Listenbee called for the end of solitary confinement for youth and encouraged all states to act to discontinue this punitive practice discontinued.
This discussion paper provides an overview of the history and context of the movement to end solitary confinement for both adults and youth in the United States as well as new tools and opportunities for reform.
In July 2015, President Obama called on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to conduct a review of the overuse of solitary confinement in the United States. The Department of Justice released its report on January 26, 2016. The report contains information, recommendations, and over 50 guiding principles, including prohibiting restrictive housing for juveniles and key principles on staff training and programming to reform the use of restrictive housing for young adults (ages 18-24). These principles track very closely with the JDAI and PbS Standards and the Stop Solitary for Kids Position Statement. The President adopted the Department of Justice’s recommendations in this report, banning solitary confinement of juveniles in federal prisons and setting a model for state and local corrections systems.”
In October 2015 the law firm of Lowenstein Sandler released an updated 51-jurisdiction survey on juvenile solitary confinement. The survey provides an overview of the laws and policies in each state as well as best practice recommendations. It focuses largely on safeguards for the use of non-punitive confinement.
This report documents the harms of solitary confinement on children, the reasons why it is still used, regulations governing the use of isolation, protections provided to children through human rights laws, and an appendix on the statutory landscape for solitary confinement in juvenile facilities.
The Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School and the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) released a report outlining data on both the numbers and the conditions in restricted housing nationwide, excluding juvenile facilities. The report also provides information on rules and practices on the use of restricted housing in state and federal correctional systems.
Solitary confinement of youth violates the Convention on Rights of the Child, and international treaty that protects the human rights of individuals under the age of 18. In a report to the United Nations General Assembly in 2011 and later report in 2015, United Nations Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez called for a ban on solitary confinement for youth under age 18, describing it as torture. A 2014 report by the United Nation’s Committee Against Torture specifically called on the U.S. to “prohibit any use of solitary confinement against juveniles.” Click here to read more.
The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics released data on the use of segregation and solitary confinement in adult prisons and jails. This report, is based on data from the National Inmate Survey conducted in 233 state and federal prisons and 357 local jails, with a sample of 91,177 adult inmates nationwide. The report found that younger inmates, inmates without a high school diploma, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual inmates were more likely to have spent time in restrictive housing than older inmates, inmates with a high school diploma or more, and heterosexual inmates. The use of restrictive housing was also linked to inmate mental health problems.