NJ Assembly Advances Bill That Would Restrict Solitary Confinement in Correctional Facilites

May 20, 2019

The New Jersey State Assembly has advanced a bill that would restrict the use of isolated confinement in correctional facilities

The bill wouldn’t end the use of solitary confinement but would ensure that prisoners, particularly the mentally and physically vulnerable, aren’t put into isolation for extended periods of time.  It stems from concerns over psychological consequences it has on people.  “Individuals considered by the clinicians to be members of a vulnerable population including those with illnesses, disablists, if you are 21 years of age or younger, 65-years of age or older, or pregnant would be removed from isolated confinement,” said Assembly bill sponsor Nancy Pinkin.

Several advocates testifyied to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.  Tyrone Barnes, a former inmate calls himself a survivor of solitary confinement.  

“I still suffer from a lot of trauma from psychological abuse and torture that took place form the prohibited being denied food, to recreation, and abuse.”

Under the bill, if isolation is necessary, an inmate would not be held more than 15 consecutive days, or more than 20 days in any 2-month period.