Obama bans solitary confinement for juveniles.
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.