New Jersey lawmakers have passed a bill that is among the most progressive legislative reform to the practice of solitary confinement in the US.
The bill would drastically restrict solitary confinement to a maximum of 20 consecutive days or 30 days total over the course of 60 days — a huge reduction of the indefinite sentences prisoners were given in the past. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has 45 days to sign the bill, which was passed by lawmakers on June 20.
The bill also restricts the isolation of “vulnerable populations,” including: young adults under 21, seniors over 65, mentally or physically disabled individuals, seriously ill prisoners, pregnant women, and members of the LGBTQ community. And because the bill seeks to increase oversight, the Department of Corrections is obligated to provide thorough documentation and data of their use of solitary confinement.
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