Today, inmates ended their hunger strike protesting the state’s inhumane practice of prolonged solitary confinement after state officials responded to their demands for reform. Inmate advocates announced that the promise of legislative hearings was one reason to end the strike.
It is estimated approximately 80,000 prisoners across the country are held in solitary confinement, with nearly 12,000 held in California. California is one of many states that allows for inmates to live in solitary confinement indefinitely. We urge lawmakers to make our state a leader by holding the promised legislative hearings and restricting this inhumane practice.
Those suffering from mental illness or developmental disabilities should not be placed in solitary confinement and those who begin to show signs of a mental breakdown should be removed. Solitary confinement should only be used as a last resort. Prisoners should not have to go on hunger strikes and risk their lives to receive humane treatment.
Hector Villagra is Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California