ABOUT US

Red Lock

WHO WE ARE

Unlock the Box is a national advocacy campaign aimed at ending solitary confinement in all U.S. prisons, jails, detention facilities, and juvenile facilities, and bringing the United States into full compliance with the UN’s Mandela Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners within 10 years.

We pursue this goal by working simultaneously on national, state, and local levels with solitary survivors, family members, advocates, community and faith groups, legislators, and others dedicated to ending state-sponsored torture. Unlock The Box and its partners are changing the national conversation, demanding that corrections leaders and policymakers address the human rights crisis in our prisons and adhere to the standards laid out by the United Nations.

National partners

MONUMENTAL MOVEMENTS

New York

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.

MAKING HISTORY

New Jersey

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.

BOLD MOVES

VIRGINIA

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

NEBRASKA

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.

DEMANDING TRANSPARENCY

ARKANSAS

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.

PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY

CONNECTICUT

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.

SAFER SPACES

WASHINGTON D.C.

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

GEORGIA

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

LOUISIANA

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.

COMPELLING COMPLIANCE

MASSACHUSETTS

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

MICHIGAN

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEVADA

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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.

CLOSING TIME

RHODE ISLAND

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

WASHINGTON

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.

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 it is on our side.

Red Lock

LEADERSHIP

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.