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.
Campaign efforts led by the NJ-Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC) have focused on passage of the Isolated Confinement Restriction Act. In 2019, they successfully passed the bill .They have now moved into the implementation phase of their legislative campaign, which will involve several avenues of focus: influencing the development of regulations, continuing public engagement and education, and building the “scaffolding” of institutional oversight.
The bill prohibits solitary confinement, defined as confinement of a person in a cell, alone or with another person, for more than 20 hours a day, for all populations, with few narrow, time-limited exceptions for lockdowns, imminent security risks, and for the protection of an incarcerated person.
FIGHTING FOR CHANGE
Campaign efforts led by ACLU-NE ended the horrific overreliance on juvenile solitary confinement. The new law bans use of room confinement, except to eliminate substantial, immediate risk of harm and requires release from confinement as soon as the risk is resolved. The campaign is now focused on implementation of the law and expanding reform to the adult system.
Campaign efforts led by DecARcerate have played an active and central role in shared efforts to seek change. In 2021, they helped pass HB1470, which bans solitary confinement for pregnant juveniles and places restrictions on its use for pregnant adults. Arkansas has the third highest rate of solitary confinement in the country. The long-term goal is to eliminate solitary confinement and replace it with incentive-based, program-rich alternatives.
Campaign efforts led by the Stop Solitary Connecticut Coalition are focused on passing the PROTECT (Promoting Responsible Oversight & Treatment and Ensuring Correctional Transparency). The Act is comprehensive and aspirational, providing a legislative vehicle to: stop extreme isolation, end abusive restraints, protect social bonds, promote correctional officer wellness, shut down CT’s supermax, 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
Campaign efforts led by the Louisiana Stop Solitary Coalition are focused on implementing policies that reduce the use of solitary confinement for everyone. In 2020, they changed solitary confinement law in Louisiana for the first time in 150 years, banning its use for currently and recently pregnant people. In 2021, they achieved a phone call policy for people held in solitary in DOC facilities.
Campaign efforts lead by Massachusetts Against Solitary Confinement (MASC) work to end the use of solitary confinement in the Massachusetts Correctional System. Largely, driven by MASC’s advocacy, Massachusetts legislators passed the strongest criminal law reform bill in decades, which included significant changes to the states solitary confinement policies and practices, though the implementation has been stalled. New efforts will address this lack of compliance.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
The goal of the Open MI Door campaign is to end solitary confinement in all Michigan prisons, jails and juvenile detention facilities, bringing the state into full compliance with the UN’s Mandela Rules. Utilizing a survivor/family led coalition, we seek to implement safe alternatives to segregation.
PROTECTING THE VULNERABLE
Campaign efforts led by ACLU-NM focus on 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, pregnant individuals, and people living with serious mental illness. It also requires jail and prison officials to collect data on who is housed in segregation and why.
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. The current focus is ensuring that Senate Bill 402 is properly implemented while we study and evaluate the use of solitary confinement in local adult facilities to evaluate whether legislative and/or regulatory changes are necessary.
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. The campaign will continue to support and strengthen HB 1581, and to raise public awareness of the devastating harms of solitary confinement and these other forms of state violence.
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. Based on available data and interviews with incarcerated individuals, that approximately 120 prisoners, or five percent of RIDOC’s population, are in solitary—including disciplinary and administrative confinement—on any given day.
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
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