LAWMAKERS SEEK TO CURB TIME INMATES SPEND IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

| MAY 23, 2019 | NJ Spotlight

 

Advocates hope bill will fare better under Murphy administration, given governor’s professed progressive opinions

New Jersey lawmakers are trying again to limit the amount of time prisoners can be kept in isolated confinement, as well as the circumstances under which they can be sent to solitary. An effort to do so three years ago got as far as former Gov. Chris Christie’s desk before being vetoed.

Advocates are hoping the Isolated Confinement Restriction Act, A-314, will pass both houses again and this time face a better fate with Gov. Phil Murphy, a progressive Democrat. The Assembly Judiciary committee on Monday moved the bill by a 4-2 vote, with both Republican members opposed.

The measure would prohibit the use of solitary confinement in correctional facilities unless it is deemed necessary to reduce the risk of serious harm to the inmate or others. A facility would have to justify the use of isolated confinement and then could only keep a person in solitary for 15 consecutive days or 20 days during a two-month period, said Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex), prime sponsor of the bill.

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