Center on Sentencing and Corrections

The Case Against Solitary Confinement During Pandemic

The Case Against Solitary Confinement During Pandemic

Levin, Marc. “The Case Against Solitary Confinement During Pandemic.” Law360, May 31, 2020.

This Law360 article presents reasons corrections agencies should not use restrictive housing as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak in prisons and jails. Levin argues that although systems must create quarantine and medical isolation units for the safety of incarcerated people and staff, they must ensure these strategies do not “devolve into prolonged solitary confinement” and cause undue harm.

The article includes recommendations for strategies that agencies should include in their COVID-19 response to protect the individual liberty and dignity of incarcerated people. Levin urges corrections agencies to:

  1. Distinguish the conditions within quarantine and medical isolation from prolonged restrictive housing.
  2. Implement alternatives to ensure disruptions in programming caused by the outbreak do not delay the release of incarcerated people.
  3. Take other steps to protect incarcerated people and staff—aside from restrictive approaches—such as boosting sanitary protocols.

Click to view the article.

Keywords: Texas Public Policy Foundation, Right on Crime, coronavirus, COVID, release, reentry, overcrowding, lockdown, policy, practice, visitation, PPE, personal protective equipment, reforms, alternatives.