Bills Seek Curbs on use of Solitary Confinement in Prison

Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

BOSTON (AP) — Proposals to set new guidelines on the use of solitary confinement in Massachusetts jails and prison are coming before a legislative committee.

Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts contends the state has some of the nation’s harshest policies, allowing inmates to be placed in segregated disciplinary units for as long as 10 years.

The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear proposals Monday that would limit solitary confinement to cases in which an inmate poses a clear threat to the general prison population. The bills also call for improving conditions in segregation units and requiring that correctional facilities disclose more information about solitary confinement.

The Massachusetts Sheriffs Association says it hasn’t taken a formal position on the bills but agrees that isolation should be used in a limited and humane manner.

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