Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is calling for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to reform how solitary confinement is used to discipline inmates.
Though a BOP report released Friday found that the number of inmates being held in solitary confinement is declining, Durbin said the U.S. still holds more prisoners in segregated restricted housing any other diplomatic nation.
“Originally used to segregate the most violent prisoners in the nation’s supermax prisons, the practice has been used more frequently in recent years, including for the supposed protection of vulnerable groups like immigrants, children and LGBT inmates, according to a news release issued by Durbin’s office.
Durbin requested the first assessment of the segregation policies in 2013 after a hearing on human rights and the fiscal and public safety consequences of solitary confinement. From 2011 to 2014, the number of inmates in segregation dropped from 14,942 to 10,747.
But the report found that inmates are facing disproportionately long periods in confinement due to lack of time parameters. The report recommend the Bureau of Prisons reduce the length of segregation in Special Management Units from 18 to 24 months to 12 months.