Campaign efforts led by the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC) or #HALTsolitary Campaign resulted in the passage of the HALT Solitary Confinement Act in 2021. HALT limits solitary to no more than 15 days for all people, bans it for young people and other groups, and creates alternatives with at least 7 hours out of cell per day with rehabilitative and therapeutic programming.
The New Jersey Prison Justice Watch won passage of the Isolated Confinement Restriction Act– -effectively outlawing solitary confinement in New Jersey. They made history as the first state to pass such sweeping legislation.
The Virginia Coalition Against Solitary Confinement, has introduced bold and sweeping legislation that would ban solitary confinement state-wide, other than when necessary for medical or mental healthcare.
FIGHTING FOR CHANGE
The ACLU of Nebraska, introduced bold legislation to transform the way solitary is used in the state. The bill would limit confinement to 15 days or less, ban its use on vulnerable populations, and create transparency in reporting.
DecARcerate has played an active and central role in shared efforts to seek change.They have introduced and organized individuals and partner organizations around the state to advocate for data collection on the use of solitary confinement by the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC). In 2021, DecARcerate helped pass HB1470, which bans solitary confinement for pregnant juveniles and places restrictions on its use for pregnant adults.
Campaign efforts led by the Stop Solitary Connecticut (SSCT) Coalition have been focused on passing the PROTECT (Promoting Responsible Oversight & Treatment and Ensuring Correctional Transparency), which provides a legislative vehicle to: stop extreme isolation, end abusive restraints, protect social bonds, promote correctional officer wellness, ensure correctional oversight and accountability.
Campaign efforts led by DC Justice Lab will advance legislation that significantly reduces reliance on solitary confinement and use of Black Box restraints in the local detention facilities, and ensuring that policymakers, organizers, and the public understand that the use of solitary confinement does not make incarcerated people safer or healthier.
A SURVIVOR’S NETWORK
The Out of Isolation, Into Action campaign, led by survivors of solitary confinement at the Southern Center for Human Rights and RestoreHER, is in its early stages. In 2021, efforts have focused on strengthening relationships with survivors & other advocacy organizations, building a robust coalition that can engage unlikely allies and constituencies to expose, challenge and eliminate solitary confinement in Georgia.
CHANGE FROM WITHIN
The Louisiana Stop Solitary Coalition is focused on policy changes that reduce the use of solitary confinement for everyone held in custody statewide, including passage of a law banning the use for pregnant women and advocating for more laws to ban for those with serious mental illness.
Massachusetts Against Solitary Confinement (MASC) helped pass MA’s strongest criminal law reform bill in decades, which included significant changes to the state’s solitary confinement policies and practices. The Dept. of Corrections has failed to implement the mandates. New legislation filed this session will make the legal requirements explicitly clear and effectively end solitary confinement in MA.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Campaign efforts led by Open MI Door Campaign seek to end the harmful practice of solitary confinement in Michigan through a family/survivor-led coalition. While mapping out a statewide plan to implement safe alternatives to segregation, Open MI Door educates the public on how solitary confinement impacts families and communities.
PROTECTING THE VULNERABLE
Campaign efforts led by ACLU-NM have focused on the passage of the Restricted Housing Act legislation. In 2019, they were successful in passing the bill that prohibits the use of solitary confinement for those under 18 and pregnant individuals, while restricting the use of solitary confinement for people living with serious mental illness.
MAJOR IMPACT FOR MINORS
Campaign efforts led by the ACLU-NV Ending solitary confinement in Nevada have been successful in limiting the practice of solitary in juvenile facilities, and within the Department of Corrections. They are currently working to expand the law to local facilities.
SOLIDARITY NOT SOLITARY
Campaign efforts led by the Pennsylvania Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC) are focused on ending solitary confinement in Pennsylvania state prisons and jails, centering survivors of solitary confinement and their families in community-led campaigns, like #solidaritynotsolitary.
Campaign efforts led by the Close High Side Campaign are focused on shutting down Rhode Island’s most restrictive facility, the High Security Center, also known as High Side, which is one of the most expensive prisons to run in the US. Approximately 120 prisoners, or 5% of RIDOC’s population, are in solitary—including disciplinary and administrative confinement.
A VICTORY FOR YOUTH
Campaign efforts led by the ACLU-WA are focused on implementing the recent legislative victory—banning solitary of youth statewide, and beginning to tackle the adult solitary population through policy and legislative changes. They have recently led both litigation and policy work to address solitary confinement in adult and juvenile facilities across the state.
HARNESSING PUBLIC ENERGY
The Stop Torture in NC Prisons Campaign is aimed at ending the use of solitary confinement in NC prisons. Convened by Disability Rights North Carolina, the campaign will harness and target the growing public energy around criminal justice reform that will utilize existing partnerships and forge new collaborative relationships to place consistent pressure on the Governor and State lawmakers to adopt the Task Force recommendations, effectively ending long-term solitary confinement in North Carolina.
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 it is on our side.
Our steering committee members are established leaders in the movement to end solitary confinement, representing a range of key organizations and including people who have survived solitary confinement and had a family member in solitary. Together, they set the broad agenda and strategies for the campaign. Their expertise allows Unlock the Box to stay attuned to the unique challenges of each state and population, while also pursuing meaningful policy change at the national level.
CREATING A TIPPING POINT
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 that solitary is torture, and that over half our states comprehensively address the practice.
A BLUEPRINT FOR CHANGE