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We agree with President Obama


In an op-ed in Tuesday’s Washington Post called “Rethinking solitary confinement,” President Obama banned the use of solitary for juveniles in federal custody. The President’s ground-breaking announcement was based on a six-month investigation by the Department of Justice of the overuse of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons.  The new policy follows the Justice Department’s recommendations.  The President’s announcement raises to a new level the position of major professional organizations, lawmakers, and child advocates.

A number of national organizations, including the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University, the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, and the Justice Policy Institute, are working on this issue.  We are developing strategies to provide coordinated support and resources at the federal, state, and local levels to end the solitary confinement of all youth in custody.

We agree with President Obama’s call for an end to solitary confinement of young people, but much more needs to be done.  The President’s new policy only applies to youth charged with federal offenses, but it can serve as a model for state and county facilities, where most youth are incarcerated. There must be a coordinated national movement to end solitary confinement for kids in all juvenile facilities. This should involve the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government, and include voices from all parts of the juvenile justice system-- from youth and families directly affected by solitary confinement to agency administrators and facility superintendents who must ensure the safety of youth andstaff in their institutions. 

Center for Children’s Law and Policy

Center for Juvenile Justice Reform

Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators

Justice Policy Institute

For more information on the national effort, please contact: 

Mark Soler

Executive Director

Center for Children's Law and Policy

(202) 637-0377 ext. 104

msoler@cclp.org

Marc Schindler

Executive Director

Justice Policy Institute

(202) 215-7070

mschindler@justicepolicy.org

Ned Loughran

Executive Director

Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators

(781) 843-2663

Shay Bilchik

Director

Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, Georgetown University

(202) 687-7656

scb45@georgetown.edu


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