Unlock the Box Releases First-Ever Nationwide Report and Public Database on Legislation to Abolish Solitary Confinement

Report on Banning Torture in Corrections Facilities Highlights Key Trends Across 50 Statehouses and Washington, D.C.

Unlock The Box, a national advocacy campaign and coalition to end solitary confinement, today released Banning Torture: Legislative Trends and Policy Solutions for Restricting and Ending Solitary Confinement Throughout the United States, the first-ever comprehensive, nationwide analysis of legislation related to solitary confinement. 

The first-of-its-kind report utilizes new data made available through the Unlock The Box Legislation Tracker, an interactive database of solitary confinement bills from 2009 to present day. Justice advocates, government officials, policymakers, and public citizens can freely access the Legislation Tracker to review state by state proposals and actions, as well as trend-based data visualizations.

Due to growing awareness that solitary confinement causes severe damage, increases the risk of death, and worsens safety for everyone, jurisdictions across the country have introduced legislation to ban or restrict the practice. Among the significant trends found in the Banning Torture report include initiatives to: (1) end solitary confinement for young people; (2) end solitary confinement for subgroups including people who are pregnant, living with physical and mental disabilities, and those with medical conditions; (3) prohibit solitary confinement beyond 15 consecutive days in accordance with the United Nations Nelson Mandela Rules; (4) create independent oversight mechanisms to promote effective policy implementation; and (5) fully end solitary confinement for all people.

"The Banning Torture report brings us closer to achieving our ultimate aim of eliminating solitary confinement by empowering public and private sector advocates to engage with lawmakers," said Jessica Sandoval, executive director of the Unlock The Box campaign. "When we began our mission in 2018, we set a 10-year goal to abolish solitary confinement in all U.S. prisons, jails, and youth facilities. We are grateful for nearly 100 bills that have passed in state legislatures since our founding. While there is more work to be done, this report shows that our movement is gaining momentum."

Since 2009, all but a handful of states have introduced or passed bills to restrict or end solitary confinement. The steady growth in the introduction of legislation significantly accelerated in 2019 and 2020, but action slowed in 2021 and 2022 due largely to COVID-19. Forty-five states have introduced bills to regulate, limit, or ban solitary confinement. Twenty states have introduced bills to limit solitary to 15 days or less, three of which have already passed. Only Iowa, Idaho, Utah, North Dakota and Wyoming have not introduced a single related bill as of yet. Access the Banning Torture report for more information: www.UnlockTheBoxCampaign.org/Data-Tracker


Unlock The Box is a national advocacy campaign and coalition to end solitary confinement and bring the United States into full compliance with the UN's Mandela Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners by 2028. Unlock The Box and its partners drive national awareness on the fight to end torture by solitary confinement and engages policymakers and corrections officials to demand the end of the human rights crisis in our prisons. Visit www.unlocktheboxcampaign.org/ to learn more. 

Source: Unlock The Box