Governor Lamont Signs Legislation Limiting the Use of Isolated Confinement
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has signed into law Public Act 22-18, which enacts limitations on the amount of time and circumstances under which an incarcerated person may be held in isolated confinement in state prisons and jails, and places new requirements on its use.
The measure largely codifies into law an executive order the governor issued last year. It limits the number of days a person can spend in isolated confinement to no more than 15 consecutive days or 30 total days within any 60-day period, including for those in pretrial, presentencing, and post-conviction confinement. Any use of isolated confinement must maintain the least restrictive environment needed for the safety of incarcerated individuals, staff, and facility security.
It also creates an independent ombuds position within the Connecticut Office of Governmental Accountability to investigate complaints regarding the Department of Correction, and establishes a nine-member Correction Advisory Committee to, among other things, recommend candidates for the ombuds position.
The governor thanked advocates from Stop Solitary CT who collaborated with his administration on drafting the legislation with the goal of developing policies that minimize the long-term impact of incarceration, while simultaneously maintaining a safe and secure environment for staff and individuals in custody.
“I am very proud that our executive order led to this compromise bill, and that many elements of that executive order are now being codified into law,” Governor Lamont said. “This law makes it clear that isolated confinement should only be used in extreme circumstances. It also increases transparency and provides greater independent oversight of our correctional facilities. I am committed to ensuring that Connecticut’s correctional facilities operate in a way that not only provides a safe environment for staff, visitors, volunteers, and those who are in custody, but also focuses on lowering recidivism by providing individuals who are in custody with the tools they need to ensure that when they leave a correctional facility, they never come back.”
“I believe this bill strikes the right balance between maintaining a safe and secure environment for everyone within the Department of Correction’s facilities, while also working towards the objective of minimizing the effects of long-term impact of incarceration,” Department of Correction Commissioner Angel Quiros said. “This signing of this bill also shows what can be accomplished through negotiation and collaboration. At the end of the day, we all have the same goal – the successful reintegration of those in our care.”
The law takes effect July 1, 2022, except for the provisions related to the Correction Advisory Committee and the appointment of a correction ombuds, which are effective immediately upon passage.