We urge you to take a moment for California's youth. One final hurdle remains for passage of Senate Bill 61, a bill to limit the harmful practice of placing young people in solitary confinement in California.
Your support is needed in this final push for passage! Please take a moment to express your support for S.B. 61 to your State Assembly by using the sample email we have prepared.
In California, county and state juvenile detention facilities routinely place young people in solitary confinement, a practice that is harsh, inhumane, and ineffective. Youth receive no exposure to other people, programming, school, or exercise-- except perhaps the sound or voices of an anguished and tortured scream from somewhere down the hall.
We are the only country that continues to place youth in solitary confinement. Six states–Connecticut, Arizona, Maine, Oklahoma, Alaska, and West Virginia—have banned the punitive use of juvenile solitary confinement because it has been demonstrated to lead to mental illness, trauma, suicide, self-harm, increased recidivism and violence. These states no longer use solitary confinement as a form of punishment for youth because damaging effects of this practice have resulted in three-quarters of all youth in juvenile detention centers being diagnosed with some sort of mental illness. In addition, the vast majority (62%) of all suicides committed in juvenile detention centers happen while the youth is in solitary confinement or within 10 days of exiting such conditions.
The time is now for California to join other States and limit the use of juvenile solitary confinement. We need your help to get this done. Children should not be placed in these dehumanizing conditions. Moreover, if such extreme measures are to be used, they need to be regulated.
TAKE ACTION NOW
As a resident of California, I urge you to vote in favor of Senate Bill 61 (Yee), a bill that would limit the harmful practice of placing youth in solitary confinement in the juvenile justice system in California.
Placing youth in solitary confinement is cruel, harmful, and counterproductive. Youth are still developing, so this practice is even more harmful to them. Long-term psychological effects of solitary confinement include hallucinations, paranoia, increased rates of self-mutilation and suicide. Additionally, solitary confinement can increase violent behavior in youth after release which can result in higher recidivism and risks to public safety.
SB 61 seeks to curb the overuse of solitary confinement in juvenile facilities. Six states: Connecticut, Arizona, Maine, Oklahoma, Alaska, and West Virginia- have banned the punitive use of juvenile solitary confinement. It is time for California to join them.
I urge you to support SB 61. Thank you for your consideration.