Virginia Friends: We need your help! SB 1301 passed its fourth hurtle! On Thursday, the House Public Safety SubcommitteeSenate passed SB 1301 by a vote of 6-2! SB 1301’s next step is to pass the House of Delegates' Appropriation Committee. Appropriations will be meeting early next week to consider SB1301.
The Department of Corrections is insisting that the bill will cost the Department many millions of dollars. Yet there is much evidence that indicates that ending solitary will save the Department money. Such savings then can go into providing more mental health, psychological, and medical services.
What We Need You to Do
Please write a letter (a sample of which is just below) to Luke Torian the Chair of the Public Safety Committee, with copies to Committee members and to David Smith, chair of the Virginia Coalition on Solitary. The list of Committee Members follows the sample letter.
Dear Delegate Hope:
Please support SB 1301 that effectively ends prolonged isolation for both adults and juveniles in Virginia State Prisons. Prolonged Isolation for longer than 15 days was defined as an act of torture by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.
Moreover, numerous medical and psychological studies have determined that prolonged isolation (longer than 15 days) can damage the mental and physical health of a person. Correctional authorities can manage behavior without resorting to prolonged isolation.
Please end prolonged isolation (solitary confinement) in Virginia which is very costly. Ending prolonged isolation will bring savings to the Department of Corrections. Yet, the Department believes this bill will cost many millions of dollars. The savings from ending prolonged isolation can then be invested in more psychological, medical, and educational services for the incarcerated. It is time to end torture in Virginia State Prisons!
Sincerely, Your Name
List of Delegates of the Appropriations Committee
|First Name||Last Name||Party|
|Luke E.||Torian (Chair)||D||[email protected]|
|Mark D.||Sickles (Vice Chair)||D||[email protected]|
|Kenneth R.||Plum||D||[email protected]|
|Roslyn C.||Tyler||D||[email protected]|
|David L.||Bulova||D||[email protected]|
|Delores L.||McQuinn||D||[email protected]|
|Betsy B.||Carr||D||[email protected]|
|Paul E.||Krizek||D||[email protected]|
|Lashrecse D.||Aird||D||[email protected]|
|C. E. (Cliff)||Hayes Jr.||D||[email protected]|
|Chris L.||Hurst||D||[email protected]|
|Jerrauld C. (Jay)||Jones||D||[email protected]|
|David A.||Reid||D||[email protected]|
|M. Kirkland||Cox||R||[email protected]|
|Barry D.||Knight||R||[email protected]|
|James W. (Will)||Morefield||R||[email protected]|
|C. Matthew||Fariss||R||[email protected]|
|L. Nick||Rush||R||[email protected]|
|Glenn R.||Davis Jr.||R||[email protected]|
|Terry L.||Austin||R||[email protected]|
|Robert S.||Bloxom Jr.||R||[email protected]|
|Emily M.||Brewer||R||[email protected]|
Some of the Main Provisions of Virginia Bill SB 1301
The Virginia Coalition on Solitary is advocating for SB 1301 whose patron is Senator Joseph Morrissey (D., District 16).
Some of the major provisions of SB 1301 include the following:
- No prisoner can be placed in solitary confinement except for providing medical and mental health treatment.
- The bill mandates that a prisoner receive an initial medical/mental health evaluation within eight hours of placement in isolated confinement and comprehensive medical and mental health evaluation within 24 hours.
- A prisoner shall be placed in isolated confinement for up to 48 hours. A prisoner may remain in isolated confinement for another 48 hours only if he or she poses an ongoing threat of physical harm to another person, for a maximum time in solitary of 96 hours.
- Prisoners placed in isolated confinement for their own protection shall receive opportunities for activities, movement, and social interaction.
- Prisoners who are neither in isolated confinement nor in general population shall be offered a minimum of three hours of out-of-cell programmatic interventions or other congregate activities, such as classes, work assignments, or therapeutic treatment.
- No juvenile shall be placed in solitary confinement except for the purpose of providing medical or mental health treatment.
- No juvenile shall be placed in solitary confinement for longer than 24 hours.
- If a juvenile continues to pose an ongoing threat of physical harm to another person, the juvenile can be placed in solitary for another 24 hours or a maximum of 48 hours total.
- All juveniles who are neither in solitary confinement nor in general population shall be offered a minimum of four hours of out of cell programmatic interventions such as classes, work assignments, or therapeutic treatments.
SB 1301 would effectively end prolonged isolation in Virginia State Prisons for both adults and juveniles!