Prisons; isolated confinement prohibited, exceptions. (HB795)

Introduced By

Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Isolated confinement in prisons prohibited; exceptions. Prohibits placing an inmate who is a member of a vulnerable population, defined in the bill, in isolated confinement, also defined in the bill, or placing any inmate in isolated confinement for more than 15 consecutive days or 20 days in a 60-day period, unless (i) there is a facility-wide lockdown, (ii) isolated confinement is necessary because of a risk of harm to the inmate or others, (iii) the inmate is placed in medical isolation, or (iv) the inmate is placed in voluntary protective custody. The bill requires the Department of Corrections to implement policies and procedures regarding the use of isolated confinement, including training standards for its personnel, and to report to the Governor and the General Assembly on a semiannual basis on the use of isolated confinement. The bill also directs the Joint Subcommittee to Study Mental Health Services in the Commonwealth in the Twenty-First Century to study the prevalence of mental illness in jails and submit its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly by December 1, 2019. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
01/09/2018Committee
01/09/2018Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/18 18104547D
01/09/2018Referred to Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety
01/17/2018Assigned MPPS sub: Subcommittee #2
01/24/2018Impact statement from DPB (HB795)
01/25/2018Subcommittee recommends striking from docket (5-Y 0-N)
02/13/2018Left in Militia, Police and Public Safety

Comments

ACLU of Virginia writes:

The ACLU of Virginia supports elimination of solitary confinement as a practice in the state’s prisons. Forcing people to spend 22-23 hours a day in cramped isolation without human contact is cruel, torturous and causes mental illness. Returning individuals who have been held in solitary confinement without mental health treatment is a serious public safety issue. The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this bill which would prohibit placement of members of vulnerable populations for more than 15 consecutive days or 20 days in a 60-day period except in specified circumstances.

Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee writes:

Vapac [Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee] supports efforts that will clarify and narrow prison officials ability to misuse the practice of Solitary Confinement. However, VADOC already has procedural schemes intended to behave as law relative to the use of Solitary Confinement, which VADOC opportunistically violates. Virginia Prisoners are excluded from Virginias administrative act. rendering it extremely difficult to hold prison officials accountable. CORRECTING THIS IS A PRIORITY.

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