U.S. President Barack Obama has announced he’s banning solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons.
Obama announced the ban in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post.
In the opinion piece, Obama cited concerns about its harmful psychological effects and said the practice could no longer be used as a punishment for low-level infractions.
It’s likely the changes will affect about 10,000 federal prisoners and is a result of a review conducted last summer by the U.S. Justice Department.
Obama also wrote the package of changes would include an expansion of treatment for mentally ill prisoners and an increase in the amount of time inmates in solitary can spend outside of their cells.
The U.S. President said research suggests solitary confinement has been linked to depression, a reduced ability to interact with others, alienation and the potential for violent behavior.
Obama’s ban comes a month after New York State agreed to end its “overreliance” on solitary confinement as part of a settlement to a lawsuit brought against the state by the New York Civil Liberties Union. California agreed last September to cut its use of solitary confinement.
Last August, Irwin Elman, Ontario’s children’s advocate called on the province to end the practice of placing youth in solitary confinement for more than 24 hours.
Elman said while solitary confinement for youth is permitted under Ontario law, an absolute ban on placements that exceed 24 hours would be consistent with the United Nations’ position.