Over 130 civil rights, religious, public health and criminal and social justice groups signed a letter released Monday calling for President Biden to fulfiill his campaign promise to end solitary confinement in federal detention centers.
The American Civil Liberties Union, The Innocence Project, and the Federal Anti-Solitary Taskforce were among some of the most notable endorsers.
The letter calls upon Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to end solitary confinement on the federal level, at least for days at a time and except in extreme situations. They call the confinement “counterproductive” and harmful to those forced to endure it.
According to the letter, “On any given day before the COVID-19 pandemic, of the 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States, at least 80,000 people were being held in solitary confinement for a period of more than two weeks.”
In a blueprint presentation created by FAST and ACLU, the organizations outline alternatives including making the punishment last hours, instead of days.
Some of the other alternative solutions proposed include independent oversight of the system, the protection of special populations more susceptible to the effects of ‘involuntary lock-ins,’ including members of the LGBTQ population, people over the age of 55 and under 25 and those with mental health problems.
They also call upon Congress to pass The Solitary Confinement Study and Reform Act of 2019 (HR 4488).
According to the presentation at least 70 legislative measure were filed across 32 states, to end some aspect of solitary confinement in state prisons and jails.”