In an effort to expand his criminal justice reform, President Barack Obama announced a ban on juveniles in federal prison placed in solitary confinement. In an op-ed that will appear in The Washington Post on Tuesday (January 26) Barack Obama says the common practice has devastating and psychological effects.
The president also outlined further actions that prohibit federal correction officials from punishing prisoners who commit “low-level” infractions with solitary confinement. While Obama’s reform applies broadly to the 10,000 federal inmates in solitary, only a handful of juveniles, 13 to be exact from September 2014 to September 2015, have been placed in confinement.
“How can we subject prisoners to unnecessary solitary confinement, knowing its effects, and then expect them to return to our communities as whole people?” the president wrote. “It doesn’t make us safer. It’s an affront to our common humanity.”
Obama’s goal is that the reform at the federal level will motivate states to rethink their practices. According to reports, about a dozen states have have taken steps in the last two years to curtail use of solitary confinement. Illinois and Oregon, in response to lawsuits, also announced they will exclude seriously mentally ill inmates from solitary confinement as well.
Check out the President further explain his plan.