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June 14, 2022

Trone, Bice Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Study Effects and Impacts of Solitary Confinement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 14, 2022

Contact: Sasha Galbreath, Sasha.Galbreath@mail.house.gov 

Trone, Bice Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Study Effects and Impacts of Solitary Confinement

Research shows that individuals placed in solitary are 15% more likely to be convicted of a future crime and often exhibit more violent behavior after release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman David Trone (D-MD) and Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (R-OK) introduced the Solitary Confinement Study and Reform Act, which would create a bipartisan commission focused on studying the effects of solitary confinement in America’s prison system. 

The commission will provide the U.S. Attorney General with research and recommendations for new national standards on solitary confinement. States that comply with the standards would be eligible to receive federal mental health and drug treatment grant funding. 

“Solitary confinement has been proven to cause lasting mental and physical harm. Our criminal justice system is supposed to reform people for the better, but instead this practice only leads to a more violent, painful future for our nation’s imprisoned population,” said Congressman David Trone. “I’m proud to introduce this bill alongside Congresswoman Bice so we can develop new ethical standards and provide additional behavioral and mental health funding to help get folks back on track in life.” 

Research shows even just a few days in solitary can lead to increased risk of death by accident, suicide, violence, and overdose. Solitary confinement has also been proven to lead to higher recidivism rates. 

Congressman Trone and Congresswoman Bice were joined in support by multiple Members of Congress and criminal justice reform leaders.

The bill is cosponsored by Representatives Nancy Mace (R-SC) and Peter Meijer (R-MI).

“The R Street Institute enthusiastically supports the Solitary Confinement Study and Reform Act. Studies have shown that solitary confinement leads to increased amounts of mental illness which contributes to further violence, overdoses, and even suicide. It has also contributed to recidivism rates with 15 percent of individuals placed in solitary re-offending,” said Anthony Lamorena, Federal Affairs Manager at the R Street Institute. “We applaud Rep. Trone and Rep. Bice for leading this bipartisan effort to further study the effects of solitary confinement which will then allow the development of a balanced set of informed solutions to this issue. These practices are a dated tactic that make us less safe and often lead to more harm than good.”

“Decades of research– not to mention the many lives lost – have laid bare the undeniable truth that solitary confinement is torture and that it leaves survivors with both visible and invisible scars,” said Tammie Gregg, Deputy Director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project. “We are proud to support bipartisan legislation that will enforce new standards to curb the use of solitary confinement in detention. The Solitary Confinement Study and Reform Act would put states and the Administration on a path to alternative approaches that make incarcerated people and staff safer.”

“For too long, prisons and other correctional facilities have relied on the routine use of solitary confinement, causing immense physical and psychological harm,” said Jessica Sandoval, National Director of the Unlock the Box campaign. “This bipartisan legislation will empower formerly incarcerated persons – and others with direct expertise – to develop recommendations on mental health, substance use, and prison safety, and offer states the resources to implement those recommendations.

“This legislation sets a new moral standard for our nation’s federal prisons and detention centers by seeking an end to the torture and abuse of solitary confinement, while also recommending humane, proven and effective alternatives,” said Rev. Ron Stief, Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.   

For bill text click here.

For one-pager click here.

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Appropriations, Veterans’ Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees in the 117th Congress. In Congress, Trone is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the mental health and addiction crises, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.

Follow Congressman Trone at @RepDavidTrone for updates on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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