Legislation Seeks to End Juvenile Solitary Confinement

February 23, 2015

YLC staff attorney Sue Burrell was interviewed by San Diego CityBeat in relation to legislation introduced by Senator Mark Leno (S.B. 124) aimed at reducing the use of solitary confinement in California juvenile facilities.  Sue pointed out that, “When juvenile facilities think about solitary confinement, they think of those little metal rooms, like when you go on the Alcatraz tour, or they think of Pelican Bay, and part of the challenge in trying to reduce solitary confinement is to sort of shine light on the fact that what we’re talking about is putting kids all by themselves in a locked room.  It’s sensory deprivation, really.  Yes, it’s true that we might not have Pelican Bay-level use of solitary for months or years on end, but for young people, being locked in a room by yourself for even a period of a few hours can be very harmful.”  YLC and the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy helped to draft juvenile facility standards for the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI Detention Facility Assessment Standards, 2014) that ban the use of locked room confinement for disciplinary purposes, and limit other forms of confinement to 4 hours.  Senator Leno’s legislation, co-sponsored by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and other advocacy groups, seeks to put similar restrictions into state law.

San Diego City Beat article