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Calif. Considers New Limits On Juvenile Solitary Confinement

  

The California Legislature is considering new limits on when children in juvenile corrections facilities can enter solitary confinement.

Democratic Senator Mark Leno says solitary confinement is inhumane, and his bill would prohibit it except in extreme circumstances.

"The United Nations has for years now been calling for a ban for all those under the age of 18 years of age, because it can be torturous,"Leno says. "This practice cannot be used for retribution or retaliation, for punishment, or for convenience in the operations of our system."

The measure would not ban solitary confinement outright, but it would only be allowed when minors pose a risk to themselves, others or the facility. Minors held in solitary confinement would need to be returned to the general population after four hours. 

Corrections staff could keep the child in solitary confinement after four hours with consultation from medical staff or if they have drafted a plan with goals the child must meet to leave.

The bill has drawn no formal opposition and has support from civil liberties and children’s rights groups.

The measure has passed the state Senate and is currently awaiting a vote in the Assembly appropriations committee.