The Connecticut legislature recently passed historic legislation that, if signed by Gov. Ned Lamont, would greatly decrease the time inmates can be held in solitary confinement, which goes by many names, including “administrative segregation.” The United Nations special rapporteur on torture condemned Connecticut’s practices as “a state-sanctioned policy aimed at purposefully inflicting severe pain or suffering that may well amount to torture.”
The UN defines solitary confinement as torture after 15 days, but this proposed legislation mandates that, except in certain cases, all incarcerated people must be allowed to leave their cell at least 6.5 hours daily. Although both New York and New Jersey have recently passed laws limiting the use of solitary, the Connecticut bill known as the PROTECT Act, goes much further.
Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Joe Gaylin, who serves as staff support for the group Stop Solitary Connecticut, which has been working on this issue since 2019. Here he talks about restrictions on the use of solitary confinement included in the bill, and some of the elements that were stripped out during the legislative process.