PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Advocates are renewing their push for jail reforms, notably the period of time inmates might be held in what’s generally referred to as solitary confinement.
Joseph Shepard was amongst these rallying on the State Home Tuesday, calling on lawmakers to pass legislation that might, amongst different issues, cap restrictive housing at 15 days. Shepard mentioned he’s served time on the Grownup Correctional Establishments (ACI) and was held in solitary.
“I’m completely, bodily, spiritually and mentally harmed,” he mentioned.
J.R. Ventura, a spokesperson for the Rhode Island Division of Corrections (RIDOC) mentioned there must be penalties for inmates who misbehave behind bars, however famous there are a large number of the way inmates might be punished, together with however not restricted to, disciplinary confinement.
“We now have been on the document quite a few instances concerning this concern; the Rhode Island Division of Corrections doesn’t have solitary confinement,” he mentioned.
RIDOC makes use of the time period “restrictive housing,” which Ventura mentioned encompasses extra than simply segregation.
This isn’t the primary time lawmakers have thought of the 15-day most for segregation. Again in 2016, then-director of RIDOC, A.T. Wall, said he opposed any changes to the law.
At a committee listening to for the Home model of the invoice in March of this yr, Kathleen Kelly, Administrator of Authorized Help Companies for RIDOC, referred to as the proposal “misguided” and “expensive,” saying it could quantity to an unfunded mandate.
She mentioned roughly 3% of the jail inhabitants (about 80 inmates) is held in restrictive housing every quarter, most for lower than 30 days.
At the moment, RIDOC solely holds essentially the most egregious offenders for greater than 31 days, with a most of 1 yr in segregation, a change that was made in 2017. Inmates in restrictive housing are typically held of their cells for a full 24 hours a day.
Shepard mentioned it’s no approach to rehabilitate somebody.
“In case you actually need Rhode Island to be a greater, productive, safer place for you, for your loved ones, in your kids, in your buddies, then assist this invoice,” he mentioned.
Neither the Senate or Home model of the invoice has been scheduled for a vote.