Connecticut Governor Signs Bill Limiting Isolated Confinement in Prisons, Jails

by Brent Addleman


A new law setting limitations on isolated confinement for incarcerated individuals will take effect in Connecticut on July 1, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The governor signed Public Act 22-18 into law on Tuesday. The new law sets criteria for the amount of time and the circumstances under which inmates at state prisons and jails can spend in isolation. The law also sets new requirements for when isolation can be used.

“I am very proud that our executive order led to this compromise bill, and that many elements of that executive order are now being codified into law,” the first-term Democrat up for reelection this fall said in a release. “This law makes it clear that isolated confinement should only be used in extreme circumstances. It also increases transparency and provides greater independent oversight of our correctional facilities.

“I am committed to ensuring that Connecticut’s correctional facilities operate in a way that not only provides a safe environment for staff, visitors, volunteers, and those who are in custody, but also focuses on lowering recidivism by providing individuals who are in custody with the tools they need to ensure that when they leave a correctional facility, they never come back.”

The new statute was codified from an executive order issued last year and became law through the legislative process, according to the release. An incarcerated individual cannot spend more than 15 consecutive days in isolation or a total of 30 days in a 60-day period. In addition, the law extends to pretrial, presentencing, and post-conviction confinement.

According to the release, the least restrictive environment with a focus on safety of the incarcerated individual, staff, and facility security are to be maintained.

The law, according to the release, will also create ombudsman positions in the Office of Governmental Accountability to investigate complaints pertaining to the Department of Corrections. Also established is a nine-member Correction Advisory Committee to handle recommendation of people to serve as ombudsmen.

“I believe this bill strikes the right balance between maintaining a safe and secure environment for everyone within the Department of Correction’s facilities, while also working towards the objective of minimizing the effects of long-term impact of incarceration,” Department of Correction Commissioner Angel Quiros said in the release. “The signing of this bill also shows what can be accomplished through negotiation and collaboration. At the end of the day, we all have the same goal – the successful reintegration of those in our care.”

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Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.




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