2018 Solitary Confinement Reform Act in Maryland

Here is IAHR's and the Maryland Prisoners' Rights Coalition Bill on Restrictive Housing which will be submitted to the 2018 Session of the Maryland Legislature. 

Correctional Services - Restrictive Housing – Limitations 

This section applies to facilities operated by a correctional unit, as defined in Correctional Services §2-401(b). 

Definitions

  1. “Vulnerable inmate” means an inmate who:
    • Is 18 years of age or younger;
    • Is 65 years of age or older;
    • Is pregnant, in the postpartum period, or has recently suffered a miscarriage or terminated a pregnancy;
    • Is or is perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex;
    • Has a diagnosed serious mental illness; or
    • Has an intellectual, developmental or physical disability, or traumatic brain injury.
  2. “Substantive infraction” means an act committed inside a correctional facility that constitutes a violation of Maryland criminal law.
  3. “Administrative infraction” means an act committed inside a correctional facility that does not constitute a violation of Maryland criminal law.
  4. “Incident report” has the meaning defined in COMAR 12.02.27.02(B)(21)(b)
  5. “Alternative disciplinary sanction” means the penalties identified in COMAR 12.02.27.39 (D) 1-4

Graduated sanctions

1. An inmate who has been found guilty of an administrative infraction may be subject to:

For a first infraction, no more than a verbal warning;

For a second infraction, no more than an incident report;

For a third or subsequent infraction, no more than an alternative sanction;

2. An inmate who has been found guilty of a substantive infraction may be subject to:

For a first infraction, no more than 15 days in restrictive housing;

For a second infraction, no more than 30 days in restrictive housing;

For a third and subsequent infraction, no more than 45 days in restrictive housing

3. An inmate may not be subject to more than 15 consecutive days or a total of 90 days in restrictive housing in a one-year period in restrictive housing, unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the inmate poses an immediate and substantial risk of physical harm to the security of the facility, to the inmate, or to others.

Prohibited bases for restrictive housing

  1. An inmate may not be placed in restrictive housing for:
  • Non-disciplinary reasons;
  • Refusing medical treatment; or
  • Self harm behavior, unless the inmate’ placement in restrictive housing is temporary and has been ordered by a medical professional in a clinically designated and supervised area

Vulnerable populations

Unless there is a facility–wide lockdown, vulnerable inmates may not be placed in restrictive housing until alternative disciplinary and informal sanctions have been attempted, documented and have failed to mitigate the risk of physical harm to the security of the facility, to the inmate, or to others.

Conditions of restrictive housing

1. Inmates in restrictive housing shall be provided:

Weekly comprehensive physical and mental health assessments by a member of the evaluation team, as defined in correctional services §4-101(f), to determine if the inmate may be released from restrictive housing;

The same standard of access to phone calls, visits, mail, basic necessities, including, but not limited to, food, water, showers, clothing and bedding, sanitary conditions and medical care, including, but not limited to, any appropriate preventive and emergency care, that are provided to inmates not in restrictive housing; and

Maximized access to recreation, education, and programming

2.  Failure to comply with this subsection shall be recorded in the inmate’s file

3.  An inmate may not be released directly from restrictive housing to the community, unless it is necessary for the safety of the inmate.

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