A year after a Colorado inmate held in solitary confinement allegedly gunned down the state prisons chief upon being released, lawmakers are moving to restrict use of the punishment for the mentally ill.
A proposal aimed at reducing the use of solitary confinement for prisoners with serious mental illness has won unanimous approval in the state Senate.
Colorado’s new Corrections Department director is promising to reform solitary confinement policies after spending the night in an isolated cell, an experiment he said left him “feeling twitchy and paranoid.”
Colorado prison officials are being directed to stop placing mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement as the corrections department continues to decrease the number of people on administrative segregation.
The number of Colorado inmates in solitary confinement is declining and prison officials say they’re looking at changing policies to continue the trend.
A judge won’t rule in the case of a Colorado inmate held in solitary confinement until state prison officials finish a review of how inmates are classified.
A federal trial is set to begin for a Colorado inmate who claims an untreated mental illness has caused the disruptions that have led his being held in solitary confinement for more than 10 years.
Colorado lawmakers have backed away from sweeping new rules on solitary confinement in state prisons.
The percentage of Colorado inmates with mental health problems who were placed in solitary confinement more than doubled between 1999 and 2008, and many were released from prison without having a chance to readjust to human interaction.