Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 7302

January Session, 2017

 

LCO No. 5702

 

*05702_______JUD*

Referred to Committee on JUDICIARY

 

Introduced by:

 

(JUD)

 

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 meets the definition of "blind" in the Department of Correction's Administrative Directive 10.19, "Americans with Disabilities Act," dated August 1, 2014;

(B) An individual with impaired hearing who meets the definition of "deaf" in the Department of Correction's Administrative Directive 10.19, "Americans with Disabilities Act," dated August 1, 2014; 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) "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;

(3) "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;

(4) "Restrictive housing" means the housing of an inmate in physical separation from other inmate housing, as described by the Department of Correction on its Internet web site, pursuant to subsection (b) of this section;

(5) "Serious mental illness or other significant mental impairment" refers to 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) (i) Schizophrenia, (ii) delusional disorder, (iii) schizophreniform disorder, (iv) schizoaffective disorder, (v) brief psychotic disorder, (vi) substance-induced psychotic disorder, excluding intoxication and withdrawal, (vii) psychotic disorder not otherwise specified, (viii) major depressive disorders, (ix) bipolar disorder I and II; and (x) intellectual disability;

(B) Other mental disorders that are frequently characterized by breaks with reality and lead to significant functional impairment;

(C) Other cognitive disorders, pervasive developmental disorders or organic brain syndromes that result in a significant functional impairment; or

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

(6) "Use of force" means physical contact or 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 publish on its Internet web site the following aggregated and anonymized data and information:

(A) The number of inmates in restrictive housing units in this state's correctional facilities, as of the first day of each of the preceding twelve months. These figures shall be sorted by the inmate's age as if the date of the report; gender identity; race and 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;

(B) The number of inmates currently in units of restrictive housing who have spent the following cumulative durations of time in 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 been placed in any form of restrictive housing for a period of fifteen days or longer;

(D) For all units 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, 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, or individual with serious mental illness or other significant mental impairment or with a physical disability shall be subjected to isolated confinement, except 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, the cause and duration of which the department shall document on its Internet web site. 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 (1) 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; or (2) 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 serious mental illness and 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) 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 isolated confinement for a duration longer than fifteen days 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 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 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 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, regular 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 phone 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 the prior term.

(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) 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.

(i) 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 are 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

Statement of Purpose:

To codify procedures concerning isolated confinement, provide for greater transparency concerning isolated confinement and provide training and wellness initiatives for correctional staff.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]