Capitol Alert

Incarcerated youth won’t be isolated as easily in California

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday approved new limits on isolating young offenders in juvenile facilities.

Isolation techniques like solitary confinement have increasingly drawn criticism for exacting a dire psychological toll, with detractors often calling prolonged separation from others a form of torture. Senate Bill 1143 curbs how often and for how long juveniles can be locked away in “room confinement” with little or no contact with others.

Under the bill, correctional officers can’t use room confinement to retaliate against or punish minors and can only resort to the method when they’ve tried “less restrictive options,” as long as it’s safe to do so. After four hours they’d need to either return confined youth to the general population or document the reasons for keeping them there, with authorization from the facility superintendent.

The law takes effect in 2018.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert