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Reform advocates renew a push to ban solitary confinement in Connecticut prisons

Matthias Müller

Prison reform advocates want the upcoming Connecticut legislative session to prioritize the elimination of solitary confinement in state prisons. The session starts on February 9. 

Hope Metcalf, a Yale Law School professor, said Connecticut lawmakers need to work on ending what she calls “torture” in state prisons.

“Under international law, every state has an obligation not only not to torture but to prevent torture. And how do you prevent torture? You prevent torture by bringing sunshine and light and air — meaning the public — in. And so oversight is absolutely essential piers to ensure the humanity of a system,” Metcalf said.

The measure, backed by Stop Solitary CT, was vetoed by Governor Ned Lamont last year. It would have also increased oversight of the Department of Correction. 

Lamont wrote in his veto message that the legislation places unreasonable and dangerous limits on the use of restraints.

David McGuire, the executive director of ACLU Connecticut, said this year the legislation has more support. 

“I believe this is the best chance, this next session, to really get some independent oversight through and force the governor to do the right thing,” McGuire said.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.