Sunday, June 5, 2011

Support for reforms that benefit the public and prisoners

Solitary confinement in prison can be a harrowing, punishing experience, which can be the point. For almost every hour of the day, seven days a week, often for more than a year, inmates in solitary have no human contact at all.

Unfortunately, a significant portion of the state`s inmate population being held in solitary confinement suffers from mental illness. On Friday, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a new law that will hopefully increase the chances that an inmate will get the mental health services he needs, while reducing the costs and overall number of inmates in what is appropriately nicknamed "the hole."

There are about 1,400 people in solitary confinement in Colorado today. They will spend 23 hours a day there, for an average of 16 months, according to the department.

According to the Colorado Department of Corrections, in 1999, 15 percent of inmates in solitary were mentally ill or developmentally disabled. In 2008, it was 37 percent.

The new law requires regular mental health evaluations for inmates in solitary confinement, and allows inmates to receive "earned time" for good behavior after 90 days in solitary. It also restricts the practice of releasing prisoners directly from long-term solitary confinement right into the community, instead of transitioning to the general prison population.

Currently, 41 percent of prisoners released from solitary confinement are really released: Their entire prison time has been served.

Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, and Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora sponsored the bill, which garnered support from a coalition including state branches of the ACLU, Mental Health America and the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

"Solitary confinement of mentally ill inmates isn`t useful or productive for the safety of the inmate or the prison. This legislation will increase prison and prisoner safety," said Rep. Levy.

The most important thing is that the new law is just, and humane. The upshot is that it could potentially save taxpayers` money. A single prisoner in solitary confinement costs a conservatively estimated $15,000 more than a prisoner in the general population.

Speaking of prisoners and money, a conference held this week holds out some promise. A national conference regarding pre-trial release was held in Washington D.C. to review laws set almost 50 years ago regarding non-violent offenders filling up local jails. An estimated 500,000 people, charged with non-violent offenses, are jailed each day in the United States because they can`t afford the bail.

The cost to the public is $9 billion a year. And these aren`t criminals a judge wouldn`t want to risk losing sight of: These are non-violent offenders for whom bail has already been set. They just can`t afford it.

Earlier this year, Boulder County Chief Judge Roxanne Bailin, with support from the district attorney`s office and the sheriff`s department, rolled out a reduced bond schedules for our local suspects to address this very issue. Talking about it at the national level is smart.

Read more: Prison and jail reforms - Boulder Daily Camera

1 comment:

  1. My ex-husband and I had always managed to stay friendly after our divorce in February 2017. But I always wanted to get back together with him, All it took was a visit to this spell casters website last December, because my dream was to start a new year with my husband, and live happily with him.. This spell caster requested a specific love spell for me and my husband, and I accepted it. And this powerful spell caster began to work his magic. And 48 hours after this spell caster worked for me, my husband called me back for us to be together again, and he was remorseful for all his wrong deeds. My spell is working because guess what: My “husband” is back and we are making preparations on how to go to court and withdraw our divorce papers ASAP. This is nothing short of a miracle. Thank you Dr Emu for your powerful spells. Words are not enough. here is his Email: or call/text him on his WhatsApp +2347012841542