Yesterday, I received an e-mail notice regarding “Reassessing Solitary Confinement II: The Human Rights, Fiscal, and Public Safety Consequences,” the Senate Judiciary Committee’s second hearing concerning the use of solitary confinement. (Information regarding the last hearing can be found here.). The hearing, to be chaired by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), will be held on February 25, 2014 at 2:30 pm (ET) in the Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 226. From the e-mail:
In recent years, the United States has witnessed an explosion in the use of solitary confinement – also known as segregation or isolation – for federal, state, and local prisoners and detainees. The United States now holds far more prisoners in solitary than any other democratic nation. In June 2012, Senator Durbin chaired the first-ever Congressional hearing on solitary confinement. The hearing featured expert testimony on promising reform efforts that have reduced the use of solitary confinement, while also lowering prison violence and recidivism rates, and saving millions of dollars. This follow-up hearing will explore developments since the 2012 hearing, and what more should be done to curb the overuse of solitary confinement while controlling costs, protecting human rights, and improving public safety.
This hearing is open to the public. Advocates and interested members of the community are encouraged to attend. A large audience filling both the hearing room and overflow room is critical to showing interest in reforming solitary confinement policies and practices. Please RSVP by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 21, 2014.
Statements for the Record: Chairman Durbin invites advocates and stakeholders to offer their perspectives and experiences on these issues by submitting written testimony to be included in the hearing record. These statements help educate Committee members about the issues surrounding solitary confinement and are important to demonstrating community interest. Statements must be submitted as a PDF or Word Document of 10 pages or less, and should be emailed to Stephanie Trifone at Stephanie_Trifone@Judiciary-dem.Senate.gov as early as possible, but no later than Monday, February 24, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Please note that the Subcommittee cannot accept previously published information, such as newspaper articles or reports, as a statement for the record.
Those unable to attend can watch the hearing via Webcast.