OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 7302 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING ISOLATED CONFINEMENT AND CORRECTIONAL STAFF TRAINING AND WELLNESS.

SUMMARY

This bill prohibits the Department of Correction (DOC) from holding any individual under age 18 on administrative segregation status.

Under the bill, “administrative segregation status” means placement of an inmate on restrictive housing status (i.e., a designation that provides for closely regulated management and separation of an inmate from other inmates) after determining that such inmate can no longer be safely managed in the facility's general inmate population.

The bill also requires the DOC commissioner, by January 1, 2019, to study and submit a report to the Judiciary Committee regarding the use and oversight of all forms and phases of housing for inmates on restrictive housing status.

The bill additionally requires DOC to:

1. at least annually, submit to the Office of Policy and Management's Justice Policy & Planning Division specified information on restrictive housing and administrative segregation;

2. publish, on its website, the formula for calculating an inmate's mental health score and the description of any form and phase of housing used at any of its correctional facilities for inmates on restrictive housing status; and

3. within available appropriations, provide certain training to, and promote wellness measures for, DOC employees who interact with inmates.

The bill's provisions do not apply to certain inmates on special circumstances high security status because they were convicted of a capital felony or murder with special circumstances.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2018

*House Amendment “A” (1) prohibits DOC from placing individuals under age 18 on administrative segregation status instead of generally prohibiting, with certain exceptions, the DOC's use of isolated confinement on inmates who are members of certain vulnerable populations (e.g., children or individuals with disabilities); (2) replaces references in the underlying bill to “isolated confinement” with “administrative segregation status”, defines the latter term, and requires DOC to adhere to certain requirements and protocols related to such status instead of related to isolated confinement, when drafting directives to implement the bill's provisions; (3) delays the bill's effective date by three months; and (4) eliminates some of the information the bill requires DOC to report to the Judiciary Committee.

DOC REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

The bill requires DOC at least annually to submit to the Criminal Justice Policy & Planning Division various aggregated and anonymized information on inmates on restrictive housing and administrative segregation status, as described below.

Inmate Demographic Information

This information must include the number of inmates on restrictive housing status in the state's correctional facilities as of the first day of each of the previous 12 months, sorted by (1) age, (2) gender identity, (3) ethnicity, (4) any mental health score calculated by DOC, and (5) the form and phase of housing in which the inmate is held while on restrictive housing status. Also, DOC must submit, for each correctional facility, information separated into the same categories on the number of inmates who, during the previous calendar year, spent more than 15 days, cumulatively, on administrative segregation status.

Duration of Isolated Confinement

The statewide data must include the number of inmates on administrative segregation status who have spent the following cumulative days on such status:

1. one to 15 days;

2. 16 to 30 days;

3. 31 to 180 days;

4. 181 to 365 days;

5. 366 to 730 days;

6. 731 to 1,095 days;

7. 1,096 to 1,460 days;

8. 1,461 to 1,825 days;

9. 1,826 to 2,190 days;

10. 2,191 to 2,555 days;

11. 2,556 to 2,920 days;

12. 2,921 to 3,285 days;

13. 3,286 to 3,650 days; and

14. more than 3,650 days.

Efforts to Reduce Administrative Segregation

The information DOC provides must also include actions it has taken during the previous 12 months to minimize reliance on administrative segregation status and mitigate the harmful effects of such status on inmates, staff, and the public.

TRAINING AND WELLNESS

The employee training DOC develops under the bill must cover the following subjects:

1. recognizing mental illness symptoms,

1. psychiatric medications' potential risks and side effects,

2. de-escalation techniques to safely manage individuals with mental illness,

3. de-escalation and communication techniques to divert inmates from situations that may lead to an inmate being placed on administrative segregation status,

4. consequences of untreated mental illness, and

5. short- and long-term psychological effects of isolated confinement.

The bill also requires DOC, within available appropriations, to take measures to promote the wellness of employees who interact with inmates, including employee assistance and peer support programs and stress management training.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

27

Nay

14

(04/04/2017)