Obama bans soli­tary con­fine­ment for ju­ve­niles.

The Denver Post - - NEWS -

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama on Mon­day an­nounced a ban on soli­tary con­fine­ment for ju­ve­nile of­fend­ers in the fed­eral prison sys­tem, say­ing the prac­tice is overused and has the po­ten­tial for dev­as­tat­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal con­se­quences.

In an edi­to­rial that ap­pears Tues­day in The Wash­ing­ton Post, the pres­i­dent out­lines ex­ec­u­tive ac­tions that also pro­hibit fed­eral cor­rec­tion of­fi­cials from pun­ish­ing pris­on­ers who com­mit “lowlevel in­frac­tions” with soli­tary con­fine­ment. The new rules also call for ex­pand­ing treat­ment for men­tally ill pris­on­ers.

The pres­i­dent’s re­forms are ex­pected to af­fect about 10,000 in­mates. The re­forms come six months af­ter Obama, as part of a broader crim­i­naljus­tice re­form push, or­dered the Jus­tice Depart­ment to study how soli­tary con­fine­ment was be­ing used by the fed­eral Bureau of Pris­ons.

“How can we sub­ject pris­on­ers to un­nec­es­sary soli­tary con­fine­ment, know­ing its ef­fects, and then ex­pect them to re­turn to our com­mu­ni­ties as whole peo­ple?” Obama wrote. “It doesn’t make us safer. It’s an af­front to our com­mon hu­man­ity.”

He said he hoped his re­forms at the fed­eral level will serve as a model for states to re­think their rules on the is­sue.

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