On Wednesday, New York State agreed to limit solitary solitary confinement in prisons, sparing inmates under 18 and pregnant woman from isolation. The change came after a lawsuit against the Department of Corrections. The agreement also limits solitary confinement to a maximum of 30 days for those who are developmentally disabled. Currently, 3,800 state prisoners are confined in "extreme isolation" cells. The agreement in New York came just days before Sen. *** Durbin (D-Ill.) called for the end of the use of solitary for certain vulnerable individuals at a high-profile congressional hearing. The hearing featured testimony from activists, corrections officials, and former inmates, including Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman, who stated: "Solitary confinement impedes access to important pre-natal and women's health care services. In fact, pregnant women in solitary confinement often receive no medical care. And yet, pregnant prisoners in America are still sent to the SHU [Special Housing Unit]."
- What are the pros and cons of solitary confinement? What are your takeaways from the videos?
- Do you think more states will follow New York's lead? Why or why not?