News 02.20.14

New York to Limit Use of Solitary Confinement

In court papers filed Wednesday, New York State agreed to limit the use of solitary confinement and issued the first set of sentencing guidelines to specify how it can be used. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, the agreement makes New York’s prison system the largest in the nation to prohibit the use of solitary confinement for prisoners younger than 18 years.
The guidelines will specify length of punishment allowed for different infractions and will prohibit correction officials from imposing solitary confinement as a disciplinary measure for pregnant inmates. The punishment will be limited to 30 days for those who are developmentally disabled.
Other states, including Colorado, Mississippi and Washington, have begun to investigate how to reduce the use of solitary confinement. Louisiana exoneree

Damon Thibodeaux

will be a witness at a hearing on solitary confinement before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights next week. Thibodeaux, who was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2012, served 15 years on death row in Louisiana’s Angola prison for a murder that he didn’t commit. Most of that time, he was confined to a six-by-nine cell for 23 hours a day, with only an hour of recreation in a penned enclosure.  
Read more about the agreement in

coverage from The New York Times

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