Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 693

    January Session, 2017

Substitute House Bill No. 7302

House of Representatives, April 24, 2017

The Committee on Judiciary reported through REP. TONG of the 147th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

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

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2017) (a) As used in this section:

(1) "Individual with a physical disability" means any of the following:

(A) An individual with impaired vision who is blind, as defined in section 46a-51 of the general statutes;

(B) An individual who is a deaf person, as defined in section 46a-63 of the general statutes; and

(C) An individual with severe mobility restrictions who: (i) Has been prescribed a full-time wheelchair accommodation to ambulate in and out of their cell or bed area; (ii) has been prescribed an intermittent wheelchair accommodation to ambulate outside of such individual's cell or bed area; or (iii) has been prescribed a walker, cane or other assistive device, other than a wheelchair, to ambulate, and cannot walk up or down stairs;

(2) "Intellectual disability" means intellectual disability, as defined in section 1-1g of the general statutes;

(3) "Isolated confinement" means confinement of an inmate in a correctional facility, pursuant to punitive, investigative, administrative or other classification, in a cell, alone or with other inmates, for twenty or more hours per day;

(4) "Other significant mental impairment" means any disorder, other than serious mental illness, including, but not limited to, any of the following:

(A) Mental disorder that is frequently characterized by breaks with reality and leads to significant functional impairment;

(B) Cognitive disorder, pervasive developmental disorder or organic brain syndrome that results in a significant functional impairment; and

(C) Severe personality disorder that is manifested by frequent episodes of psychosis or self-injury and results in significant functional impairment;

(5) "Prolonged isolated confinement" means any period of isolated confinement in excess of fifteen days;

(6) "Restraint" means any mechanical device used to control the movement of an inmate's body and limbs, including, but not limited to, flex cuffs, soft restraints, hard metal handcuffs, a black box, leg irons, belly chains, a security chain or a convex shield;

(7) "Restrictive housing" means the housing of an inmate that is physically separated from other inmate housing, and as described by the Department of Correction on its Internet web site, pursuant to subsection (b) of this section;

(8) "Serious mental illness" means a diagnosis by a qualified mental health professional based on the most recent edition of the American Psychiatric Association's "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" with a substantial disorder of thought or mood that significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality or ability to cope with the ordinary demands of life, including, but not limited to, the following: (A) Schizophrenia; (B) delusional disorder; (C) schizophreniform disorder; (D) schizoaffective disorder; (E) brief psychotic disorder; (F) substance-induced psychotic disorder, excluding intoxication and withdrawal; (G) psychotic disorder not otherwise specified; (H) major depressive disorders; and (I) bipolar disorder I and II; and

(9) "Use of force" means physical contact, including contact through use of an armory item or canine, initiated by a staff member in response to a noncompliant inmate for the purposes of establishing, maintaining or restoring control, order, safety or security, but does not include routine use of physical contact or the routine use of restraints.

(b) The Department of Correction shall publish on its Internet web site the formula for calculating an inmate's mental health score and a description of any form of restrictive housing used in this state's correctional facilities and shall identify which, if any, of these forms of restrictive housing constitute isolated confinement.

(c) (1) The Department of Correction shall at least annually submit to the Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division established under section 4-68m of the general statutes the following aggregated and anonymized data and information:

(A) The number of inmates in restrictive housing units in correctional facilities, as of the first day of each of the preceding twelve months;

(B) The number of inmates currently in units of restrictive housing who have spent the following cumulative durations of time in isolated confinement or prolonged isolated confinement:

(i) One to fifteen days;

(ii) Sixteen to thirty days;

(iii) Thirty-one to one hundred eighty days;

(iv) One hundred eighty-one to three hundred sixty-five days;

(v) Three hundred sixty-six to seven hundred thirty days;

(vi) Seven hundred thirty-one to one thousand ninety-five days;

(vii) One thousand ninety-six to one thousand four hundred sixty days;

(viii) One thousand four hundred sixty-one to one thousand eight hundred twenty-five days;

(ix) One thousand eight hundred twenty-six to two thousand one hundred ninety days;

(x) Two thousand one hundred ninety-one to two thousand five hundred fifty-five days;

(xi) Two thousand five hundred fifty-six to two thousand nine hundred twenty days;

(xii) Two thousand nine hundred twenty-one to three thousand two hundred eighty-five days;

(xiii) Three thousand two hundred eighty-six to three thousand six hundred fifty days; and

(xiv) More than three thousand six hundred fifty days;

(C) For each correctional facility, the number of inmates who during the previous calendar year have spent more than fifteen days, cumulative, in isolated confinement or prolonged isolated confinement;

(D) For each unit of restrictive housing, the incidence during each month of the past calendar year in each unit of restrictive housing of the following:

(i) Correctional facility-wide lockdowns;

(ii) Inmate assaults on correctional and department staff;

(iii) Inmate-on-inmate assaults;

(iv) Staff-on-inmate use of force incidents;

(v) The use of restraints, including, but not limited to, within a cell of an acutely disruptive inmate; and

(vi) Inmate self-harm, suicide, attempted suicide, and emergency medical or psychiatric treatment.

(2) In addition to reporting the aggregated data pursuant to subparagraph (C) of subdivision (1) of this subsection, the department shall report and disaggregate such data based on an inmate's age, gender identity, ethnicity, physical disability, if any, mental health score as calculated by the department, if any, and the form and phase of restrictive housing and facility.

(d) No child, as defined in section 46b-120 of the general statutes, individual with a serious mental illness, an intellectual disability or other significant mental impairment or individual with a physical disability shall be subjected to isolated confinement, except (1) during a facility-wide lockdown or a Class 1 Incident as defined in the Department of Correction's Administrative Directive 6.6, "Reporting of Incidents," dated July 20, 2015; or (2) as a temporary, emergency response to a substantiated threat of imminent physical harm to correctional staff or other inmates, after which period correctional staff shall return the child or individual to the general facility population, or consult with a qualified mental health professional to determine whether further treatment at a mental health facility is necessary. The department shall document on its Internet web site the cause and duration of any use of isolated confinement pursuant to this subsection. The department may isolate any such child or individual for a period not to exceed eight consecutive hours or twenty-four hours in any seven-day period as an immediate response to an inmate's request for protective segregation.

(e) Not later than January 1, 2018, the Commissioner of Correction shall review all policies of the Department of Correction relating to any child, as defined in section 46b-120 of the general statutes, individual with a serious mental illness, an intellectual disability or other significant mental impairment and individual with a physical disability held in isolated confinement and revise such policies as necessary to conform with the provisions of this section and issue such directives as are necessary to implement the provisions of this section.

(f) In the formulation of any directive issued to implement the provisions of this section, the Department of Correction shall adhere to the following standards, principles and requirements:

(1) Prolonged isolated confinement shall be used only to protect against a substantiated threat of imminent physical harm to correctional staff or other inmates, only for the shortest duration reasonably possible to protect against such harm, and only as a last resort when less-restrictive alternatives have failed;

(2) No inmate shall be assigned to prolonged isolated confinement without a hearing at which the department shall bear the burden to show by clear and convincing evidence that continued isolated confinement is necessary to protect against a substantiated threat of imminent physical harm to correctional staff or other inmates;

(3) No inmate shall be assigned to prolonged isolated confinement for a duration longer than thirty days without review by the commissioner or the commissioner's deputy, if any;

(4) The housing of any inmate in prolonged isolated confinement for a duration longer than thirty days shall be subject to periodic reviews not less frequently than every thirty days. No inmate shall be retained in prolonged isolated confinement unless the department demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that there is a continuing risk of imminent physical harm to correctional officers or other inmates. Disciplinary violations, alone, shall not be a basis for retention in isolated confinement;

(5) For any inmate who has spent more than six months in isolated confinement but who, based on clear and convincing evidence, cannot be returned to the general correctional population without a substantial probability of physical harm to correctional staff or other inmates, the department shall adopt and implement reasonable alternative placements that do not involve isolated confinement;

(6) Inmates in restrictive housing shall be provided the same access to basic necessities, including, but not limited to, food, water, showers, clothing and bedding, sanitary conditions and medical care, including, but not limited to, any appropriate preventive and emergency care, that are provided to inmates not in restrictive housing;

(7) No inmate held in isolated confinement shall be simultaneously denied access to social telephone calls, personal visits and personal mail;

(8) No inmate shall be released directly from isolated confinement into the community, except (A) if release is mandated by court order or otherwise by law, or (B) if, under extraordinary circumstances, such release is necessary for the safety of the inmate, correctional staff or other inmates; and

(9) No inmate who returns to the custody of the department after completing a prior term of imprisonment in departmental custody shall be held in restrictive housing based solely on a classification applied during such inmate's prior term of imprisonment.

(g) Not later than January 1, 2018, the Commissioner of Correction shall review all policies of the Department of Correction relating to isolated confinement and revise those policies as necessary to conform to this section.

(h) The provisions of subsections (a) to (g), inclusive, of this section, do not apply to any inmate described in subsection (a) of section 18-10b of the general statutes.

(i) Within available appropriations, the Department of Correction shall provide training in the following subjects to employees of the department who interact with inmates on a regular basis:

(1) The recognition of symptoms of mental illness;

(2) The potential risks and side effects of psychiatric medications;

(3) De-escalation techniques for safely managing individuals with mental illness;

(4) Consequences of untreated mental illness;

(5) The long and short-term psychological effects of isolated confinement; and

(6) De-escalation and communication techniques to divert inmates from situations that may lead to the inmate being placed in isolated confinement.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2018) Within available appropriations, the Department of Correction shall take measures to promote the wellness of employees of the department who interact with inmates on a regular basis. These measures may include, but need not limited to:

(1) Employee assistance programs;

(2) Peer support programs; and

(3) Stress management training.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2017

New section

Sec. 2

October 1, 2018

New section

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Section 1(c)(1)(A), the last sentence was deleted as it was redundant with Section 1(c)(2). In Section 1(d) the language in Subdiv. (3) was moved to the last sentence for accuracy. Section 1(j) was redesignated as Section 2 for clarity.

JUD

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

This bill codifies Department of Correction (DOC) procedures concerning isolated confinement, requires the DOC to provide additional isolated confinement data, and to provide training and wellness initiatives for DOC staff and does not result in a fiscal impact to the state or municipalities.

The Out Years

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 7302

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

SUMMARY

This bill generally prohibits the Department of Corrections (DOC) from placing certain inmates in isolated confinement, which the bill defines as confinement of an inmate in a correctional facility cell alone. The inmates include (1) children; (2) individuals with a serious mental illness, intellectual disability, or other significant mental impairment; and (3) individuals with a physical disability. But the bill also specifies circumstances in which these inmates may be placed in isolated confinement for up to eight consecutive hours or 24 hours in a seven-day period.

By January 1, 2018, the bill requires the DOC commissioner to (1) review and revise DOC's isolated confinement policies to conform with the bill and (2) issue any directives necessary to implement the bill. When drafting the directives, the commissioner must adhere to several standards, principles, and requirements specified in the bill.

The bill also requires DOC:

Under the bill, “restrictive housing” is inmate housing that is physically separated from other inmate housing. It may constitute isolated confinement.

The isolated confinement prohibition does not apply to certain inmates on special circumstances high security status because they were convicted of a capital felony or murder with special circumstances.

Additionally, the bill requires DOC, within available appropriations, to (1) provide training on mental illness and solitary confinement to its employees who interact with inmates on a regular basis and (2) take measures to promote the wellness of these employees, such as providing employee assistance, peer support programs, and stress management training.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017

PROHIBITION ON ISOLATED CONFINEMENT

The bill prohibits DOC from placing in solitary confinement any inmate who (1) is a child; (2) has a physical disability; or (3) has a serious mental illness, intellectual disability, or other significant mental impairment.

Under the bill, an “individual with a physical disability” includes a person who is (1) blind or deaf or (2) has severe mobility restrictions and has been prescribed (a) a full-time wheelchair accommodation to move inside and outside of his or her cell or bed area; (b) an intermittent wheelchair accommodation to move outside of his or her cell or bed area; or (c) a walker, cane, or other assistive device, other than a wheelchair, to move around and is unable to walk up and down stairs.

“Intellectual disability” means a significant limitation in intellectual functioning, as defined in existing law, that exists concurrently with adaptive behavior deficits that originated before the individual turned 18.

“Serious mental illness” means a diagnosis by a qualified mental health professional based on the most recent edition of the American Psychiatric Association's “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (i.e., DSM-5) of a substantial thought or mood disorder that significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to cope with life's ordinary demands. These diagnoses include schizophrenia; delusional, schizophreniform, schizoaffective, or brief psychotic disorder; substance-induced psychotic disorder, excluding intoxication and withdrawal; psychotic disorder not otherwise specified; major depressive disorders; and bipolar disorder I and II.

“Other significant mental impairment” means disorders other than serious mental illness, including:

PERMISSIBLE ISOLATED CONFINEMENT

In addition to exempting certain inmates on special circumstances high security status from the prohibition on isolated confinement, the bill also makes exceptions to its prohibitions under the following conditions:

DOC DIRECTIVES

When creating isolated confinement directives to implement the bill, DOC must adhere to the following standards, principles, and requirements:

DOC REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

The bill requires DOC at least annually to submit to the Criminal Justice Policy & Planning Division various aggregated and anonymized information, as described below.

Inmate Demographic Information

This information must include the number of inmates in restrictive housing units in the state's correctional facilities as of the first day of each of the previous 12 months, sorted by (1) the inmate's age as of the report date, (2) gender identity, (3) race and ethnicity, (4) any physical disability, (5) any mental health score calculated by DOC, and (6) the form and phase of restrictive housing and facility.

Also, DOC must submit, for each facility, information on the number of inmates who, during the previous calendar year, spent more than 15 days, cumulatively, in isolated confinement. This information must be broken down by age, gender identity, ethnicity, mental health score, and the form and phase of restrictive housing and facility.

Duration of Isolated Confinement

The statewide data must include the number of inmates currently in restrictive housing units who have spent the following cumulative days in isolated confinement:

Restrictive Housing Unit Incidents

The information must include, for each month of the previous calendar year, the incidence of the following in each unit of restrictive housing:

Under the bill, “use of force” means staff-initiated physical contact or contact using an armory item or canine that is (1) in response to a noncompliant inmate and (2) used to establish, maintain, or restore control, order, safety, or security. It does not include routine (1) physical contact or (2) restraint use.

“Restraint” means any mechanical device used to control the movement of an inmate's body and limbs, including flex cuffs, soft restraints, hard metal handcuffs, a black box, leg irons, belly chains, a security chain, or a convex shield.

TRAINING

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

DOC WEBSITE INFORMATION

The bill requires DOC to publish on its website:

BACKGROUND

Category 1 Incidents

DOC Administrative Directive 6.6, “Reporting of Incidents”, effective July 20, 2015, divides incidents, for staff response and notification purposes, into three categories. Category 1 incidents are the most serious and include:

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

27

Nay

14

(04/04/2017)

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