New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shot down an attempt to curtail the use of solitary confinement in New Jersey’s prisons, vetoing legislation that would have strictly limited the practice and assailing its key sponsor in a fiery veto message, reports NJ Advance Media. The move was a blow to civil liberties advocates, who note that a national reform movement has led to limiting the practice, also known as isolated confinement, in several states. The measure sought to require prisons and jails to use isolated confinement only as a last resort, restricting its use to 15 consecutive days or 20 days over two months.
Citing recent regulatory changes within the state Department of Corrections that limited administrative segregation and other types of prisoner isolation, Christie criticized the legislation as an “ill-informed, politically motivated press release” that “seeks to resolve a problem that does not exist in New Jersey.”
He said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ray Lesniak, “has no idea about law enforcement.” The governor also repeated claims from corrections officials that New Jersey does not use solitary confinement at all. While the bill was being considered, the Department of Corrections maintained it uses “restrictive housing units” to remove inmates from the general prison population.