PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Lawyers from Philadelphia’s Juvenile Law Center briefed members of congress on Wednesday on a new study it conducted on solitary confinement for young offenders. They found the practice continues to be widespread, despite its known dangers.
Federal prisons outlawed solitary confinement for juveniles a year-and-a-half ago, but attorney Jessica Feierman says many states still use the practice.
“Out of over 50 attorneys we interviewed, about two-thirds of them had clients in solitary confinement in juvenile facilities.
That, despite a century of research showing the practice is devastating to their health and development. Feierman says the study also found it’s applied unevenly– more likely to be inflicted on minority, LGBT or disabled youth — and counterproductive to rehabilitation.
The Center hopes sharing the study with Congress will help eliminate the practice. Feierman says despite the discord in Washington, there is bipartisan support for criminal justice reform.
“There’s still opportunities to find points of agreement and really to push for what’s right for young people.”