PA 17-239—sHB 7302

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING ISOLATED CONFINEMENT AND CORRECTIONAL STAFF TRAINING AND WELLNESS

SUMMARY: This act prohibits the Department of Correction (DOC) from placing any individual under age 18 on administrative segregation status.

Under the act, “administrative segregation status” is the DOC practice of placing an inmate on restrictive housing status after determining that the inmate can no longer be safely managed in the facility's general population. “Restrictive housing status” is a designation that provides for closely managing and separating an inmate from other inmates.

The act 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 act additionally requires DOC to:

1. at least annually, submit to the Office of Policy and Management's (OPM) 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 act's prohibition on administrative segregation status for people under age 18 does not apply to inmates who are on “special circumstances high security status” because they were convicted of a capital felony or murder with special circumstances. The act also excludes these inmates from the reports it requires DOC to submit to OPM and information it requires DOC to publish on its website.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2018

DOC REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

The act 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 on 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 a total of 15 days on administrative segregation status.

Duration of Isolated Confinement

The statewide data must include the number of inmates on administrative segregation status who have spent a total of the following 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 and mitigate the harmful effects of this status on inmates, staff, and the public.

TRAINING AND WELLNESS

The employee training DOC develops under the act 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 placement on administrative segregation status,

4. consequences of untreated mental illness, and

5. short- and long-term psychological effects of being in administrative segregation.

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