ABOUT US

WHO WE ARE

Unlock the Box is the national campaign to end long-term solitary confinement in the United States and to come into complete compliance with the UN’s Mandela Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners by 2031.  

We accomplish our mission working simultaneously on local and national levels with survivors, advocates, legislators, and community organizations dedicated to ending state-sponsored torture.    Unlock The Box and it’s partners are changing the national conversation, demanding lawmakers adhere to the suggestions laid out by the world’s leader on Human Rights, the United Nations. 

Unlock the Box compiles research and educational materials to spread awareness about this state-sponsored torture and to inspire people like you to fight for meaningful change to our criminal justice system. 

LEADERSHIP

Our steering committee is comprised of members from partner organizations across the nation. Partnering with these impactful groups helps us stay informed to the unique challenges of each state and population, while allowing us to guide meaningful policy change at a national level. 

CAMPAIGN PARTNERs

Unlock The Box is currently active in 16 states, but we are quickly expanding across the nation.  If you are part of an anti-solitary organization in a state we’re not, we want to hear from you!  Please contact us today. 

WHAT WE BELIEVE

Our prisons are a reflection of our values as a society and a nation, and should uphold human rights and respect the dignity and worth of all people.

Change on this issue may happen one prison system at a time, and it may not come quickly or easily—but we are approaching a tipping point, and with persistence and resources, it will come. The arc of history bends toward justice, and is on our side.

A ROADMAP FOR CHANGE

51%.  That’s the number that drives us.  A central goal of our campaign is creating public and legislative “tipping” points: ensuring that 51% of the public agrees with banning solitary and that over half our states pass legislation that bans the practice.   Research shows that once this goal is reached, many more states will follow suit.  We won’t stop until all 50 US states have banned the use of solitary confinement. 

Conversation

Facilitating and steering the national conversation surrounding solitary confinement and its alternatives is key to creating an informed public and a reformed prison system. 

legislation

Passing legislation that addresses the use of solitary confinement it as the forefront of our strategy.  We must ensure there are national standards that can be applied at the state level.

Mobilization

Policy is personal.  Alongside passing legislation, we are mobilizing survivors, advocates, prison guards, and other stakeholders to speak out, be heard, and be a part of the anti-solitary revolution. 

IMPLEMENTING NATIONAL STANDARDS

51%.  That’s the number that drives us.  A central goal of our campaign is creating public and legislative “tipping” points: ensuring that 51% of the public agrees with banning solitary and that over half our states pass legislation that bans the practice.   Research shows that once this goal is reached, many more states will follow suit.  We won’t stop until all 50 US states have banned the use of solitary confinement. 

Minors

Solitary confinement has lasting psychological effects on the brain, particularly on the undeveloped brains of minors.  Our first step is prohibiting the use of solitary confinement for anyone under the age of 21

the vulnerable

Ensuring that solitary confinement is not used on our most vulnerable populations such as the mentally ill, elderly, LGBTQ, and pregnant women.


15 DAYS OR LESS

Ensuring the federal government lays out national standards, based on the UN’s Mandela Rules, so that every state can legislate within humane and ethical standards.

 

the Mandela Rules

A ROADMAP TO ENDING SOLITARY

The United Nations is urging the United States to comply with The Mandela Rules for the Humane Treatment of Prisoners. It is important to note that they function as minimum, not gold, standards; the aim is to go beyond them in upholding human rights and dignities. Although they include provisions for the humane practice of solitary confinement in the short term, the intention is to narrow and perhaps even eliminate its use except when absolutely necessary.

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