On January 8, 2013, California State Senator Yee introduced a bill (SB 61) limiting the harmful use of solitary confinement in juvenile facilities.
SB 61 seeks to, among other things, reform the definition of solitary confinement, make sure that solitary confinement is not used as punishment, make sure that juveniles are only held in solitary confinement for the minimum amount of time, establish screenings to identify mental health issues that would be worsened by solitary confinement, and to make staff review daily all juveniles in solitary confinement.
On Tuesday, April 23, the California Senate Committee on Public Safety hosted a hearing to consider SB 61. The bill passed the Public Safety Committee. The next step is passing the Senate Standing Committee on Appropriations. On Monday, May 13, the bill was considered at a hearing before the Committee on Appropriations. Take action today by expressing your support for SB 61 to members of the committee.
Learn more about SB 61 from this fact sheet.
On August 23, 2011, NRCAT supporters joined with 200 other advocates in a witness against prolonged solitary confinement at the California State Capitol and after the witness, many attended the California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety’s hearing about solitary confinement. Rev. Will McGarvey, who testified on behalf of NRCAT and the faith community, spoke out against the detrimental effects of solitary confinement. Additionally, over 600 Californian endorsements of NRCAT’s statement against prolonged solitary confinement were delivered to the Governor’s office the same day.
As a follow up to the issues and recommendations raised during the California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety’s hearing, NRCAT sent packets to all California Assemblymembers and Senators that included Rev. McGarvery's testimony, the over 600 Californian endorsements of NRCAT's statement against prolonged solitary confinement, and model legislation to limit the use of solitary confinement.
Please join us in calling for an end to prolonged solitary confinement in California prisons. Let’s make sure the demand for change intensifies in 2012.
Links to news stories covering the use of solitary confinement in California and developments in reforming the practice are available here.