Stop Solitary for Kids (SSK) is a partnership of four national organizations to end the practice of solitary confinement, also known as “isolation,” “room confinement,” and “segregation.” SSK focuses on helping juvenile justice stakeholders to identify and implement safe and workable alternatives to solitary. SSK also supports advocates and community members working to implement those alternatives. The partner organizations are the Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP), the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University (CJJR), the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators (CJJA), and the Justice Policy Institute (JPI). Each partner organization brings specific expertise to the work to end solitary.
With the support of Arnold Ventures, the Stop Solitary for Kids Campaign will expand our work in 2021 and beyond to focus on racial justice, elevating the voices of those directly impacted, and supporting the decarceration of young people.
One of the Campaign’s fundamental principles is that we cannot end the long-standing practice of solitary confinement through an “outsider only” approach, i.e., with external advocacy efforts alone. We cooperate with state and local officials who operate facilities that hold youth in solitary as well as other stakeholders and decision-makers and advocates. The SSK partners believe that ending solitary is a pathway to broader youth justice reform because it involves changing the culture and the punishment paradigm in juvenile justice facilities and systems.
NEW APPROACHES TO ENDING SOLITARY CONFINEMENT OF YOUTH WILL INCLUDE:
- Collecting data on racial bias in the use of isolation to support targeted reforms;
- Providing technical assistance to a group of sites using the Room Confinement Assessment Tool (RCAT) screening tool to track, assess, and provide strategies to reduce the use of solitary confinement;
- Creating and hosting a multi-day intensive training, or Certificate Program, at the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy where participating teams from across the country will receive intensive training and technical assistance to end the use of isolation in their jurisdictions;
- Promoting de-carceration of youth facilities by tracking the role of solitary confinement in the facility populations since the Covid-19 pandemic began and identifying best practices in the field;
- Developing a law school course on juvenile and criminal justice using the framework of the acclaimed social justice documentary series, “Time: The Kalief Browder Story;”
- Connecting facility and agency administrators to leaders from other jurisdictions that have reduced solitary confinement, and arranging site-visits to those jurisdictions; and
- Facilitating partnerships between administrators of youth facilities and youth who have experienced solitary confinement.