Solitary confinement is expensive, does nothing to rehabilitate people in prison and exacerbates—or even causes—mental illness in those subjected to it. The desperation that people feel in solitary confinement can lead to psychological breakdown, self-harm, and suicide. And solitary confinement is particularly problematic for vulnerable populations, including those with mental or physical disabilities.
Solitary confinement does not make prisons safer; in states that have dramatically reduced the number of people in solitary confinement, there has not been a corresponding increase in violence against corrections staff. Nor does it make the community safer—people released into the community directly following solitary confinement have higher recidivism rates.
SB 5413 recognizes that solitary confinement should only be used when there is a substantial risk of immediate serious harm and a less restrictive intervention will not be sufficient to reduce that risk. Solitary confinement cannot exceed 15 consecutive days, and, subject to limited restrictions, someone who is a member of a vulnerable population cannot be placed in solitary confinement. If your senator is on the Human Services, Reentry and Rehabilitation Committee, ask him or her to vote YES on SB 5413.