Maryland Solitary Confinement Legislation

Corrections – Solitary Confinement

 

WHEREAS, The United States Department of Justice has defined solitary confinement as the state of being confined to one’s cell for approximately 22 hours or more per day, alone or with other prisoners, that limits contact with others.

 

WHEREAS, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has recognized the following conditions to be classified as serious mental illnesses: Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders; Bipolar and Related Disorders; Major Depressive Disorder; Anxiety Disorders; Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders; Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders; Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders; Major Neurocognitive Disorders; Personality Disorders.

 

SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF MARYLAND, That:

 

(a)          DEFINITIONS

 

(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

 

(2) “Correctional facility” means a facility operated by or under contract with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services;           

 

(3) “Solitary Confinement” means the state of being confined to one’s cell for approximately 22 hours or more per day, alone or with other prisoners, that limits contact with others.

 

(4) “Solitary Confinement” includes classifications such as “disciplinary segregation”, “administrative segregation”, “protective custody”, “special housing”, or “super–maximum security housing”, “restricted housing”, “restricted programming”, and any other classification of confinement if under that classification the person is confined to a cell for approximately 22 hours per day or more, alone or with other prisoners, with limited contact with others.

 

(5) “Prisoner” means someone confined to a facility operated by or under contract with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

 

(6) “Serious Mental Illness” includes:

Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders; Bipolar and Related Disorders; Major Depressive Disorder; Anxiety Disorders; Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders; Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders; Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders; Major Neurocognitive Disorders; Personality Disorders; and other conditions recognized as serious mental illnesses by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

 

(b)          A prisoner may not be placed in solitary confinement unless:

(1)  The prisoner poses an immediate and substantial risk of physical harm to the security of the facility, to himself or herself, or to others that is not the result of a serious mental illness;

(2)  All other less-restrictive options to address the risk have been attempted and exhausted;

(3)  The prisoner is held in solitary confinement only for the minimum time required to address the risk, and for a period of time that does not compromise his or her mental and physical health of the prisoner; and

 

(4)  The facility documents the name, age, gender, and race of the person subjected to solitary confinement, the date and time the prisoner was placed in and released from solitary confinement, and the reason for such confinement, including exhaustion of less restrictive alternatives.

 

(c)          For each incident when solitary confinement is used, each facility shall document and report quarterly the usage of solitary confinement, including:

(1)  The name, age, gender, and race of the prisoner subject to solitary confinement,

(2)  The date and time the prisoner was placed in and released from solitary confinement, and

(3)  The reason for such confinement, including attempts at less-restrictive options.

 

(d)          The records described in subdivisions (b) and (c), excluding any identifying information, shall be made available on the website of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

 

SECTION 2. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this Act shall take effect October 1, 2017.

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