Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is calling for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to reform how solitary confinement is used to discipline inmates, says The Hill. Though a new BOP report found that the number of inmates being held in solitary confinement is declining, Durbin said the U.S. still holds more prisoners in segregated restricted housing than most nations. Originally used to segregate the most violent prisoners, the practice has been used more frequently in recent years, including for the supposed protection of vulnerable groups like immigrants, children and LGBT inmates, he says.
From 2011 to 2014, the number of federal inmates in segregation dropped from 14,942 to 10,747. The report found that inmates are facing disproportionately long periods in confinement. The report urged the Bureau of Prisons to cut the length of segregation in Special Management Units from 18 to 24 months to 12 months. The report also recommends the BOP review all inmates currently assigned to segregated housing to identify those who would be better served in a secure mental health facility and establish a separate housing option for inmates in protective custody.