Write A Letter of Support To End Youth Solitary Confinement! PASS SB 1143

SB 1143 Solitary think outside the cage

Thank you for all your support! SB 1143 passed out of the State Legislature, and now has to be signed by Governor Brown!

PLEASE (1) E-MAIL THE GOVERNOR ASAP (leg.unit@gov.ca.gov)
and (2) e-mail us a copy, so we can make sure it gets recorded (action@youth4justice.org).

Use the sample below to send the Governor a letter of support from your organization, (group, coalition, house of worship, club, etc.) Below the letter is an infographic you can use in your outreach that highlights the impacts of room confinement, isolation and solitary confinement on youth.

SB 1143 WILL ENSURE THAT YOUTH WHO ARE LOCKED UP IN COUNTY JUVENILE HALLS, PROBATION CAMPS AND RANCHES, OR STATE YOUTH PRISONS (DIVISION OF JUVENILE JUSTICE) ARE NO LONGER SUBJECT TO OVERUSE AND MISUSE OF LOCKED ROOM CONFINEMENT, INCLUDING ISOLATION FROM HUMAN CONTACT AND PROGRAMMING.

SB 1143:

1. Defines room confinement as the placement of a person in a sleeping room or cell alone with minimal contact from facility staff or attorneys, and does not include sleeping hours or confinement for brief periods of time necessary for institutional operations;

2. Provides that room confinement shall only be used after all less restrictive options have been attempted and exhausted (such as separating youth for a short cool-down period, verbal de-escalation tactics, building healthy relationships with staff and youth, restorative justice circles, counseling, and mental health and suicide intervention);

3. Provides that room confinement cannot be used to the extent that it compromises the mental and physical health of the person;

4. Provides that room confinement shall not be used for the purposes of punishment, coercion, convenience, or retaliation by staff; and

5. Limits room confinement to four hours, room confinement lasting beyond four hours requires an individualized plan, documentation, authorization and oversight.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Please print on your organization’s letterhead. Please Email to leg.unit@gov.ca.gov and also e-mail us a copy at action@youth4justice.org, so we can make sure it gets counted.

[DATE]

The Honorable Jerry Brown
State Capitol, 1173
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Brown:

On behalf of [NAME OF ORGANIZATION], I write in strong support for SB 1143 (authored by Senator Mark Leno), a bill that would set standards to severely limit the use of room confinement of youth in California’s juvenile lock-ups.

SB 1143 will set nationally recognized best standards into law regarding the use of room confinement in juvenile lock-ups. This bill is in keeping with efforts in several other states to limit the use of room confinement in favor of less restrictive options that have demonstrated greater success in promoting safety, improved youth outcomes, and greater protection of youth dignity and respect. Earlier this year, President Obama issued an executive directive to limit the use of isolation in federal juvenile facilities to a maximum of three hours, and to ban its use for the purposes of punishment or discipline. More than 20 states have banned the use of isolation for the purposes of punishment.

[PROVIDE A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF YOUR ORGANIZATION/GROUP AND WHY YOU CARE ABOUT THIS ISSUE].

SB 1143 will save the state by reducing recidivism, reducing costs associated with long-term mental health care for youth who may have been subjected to dangerously long periods of isolation, and reduce costly litigation that comes in the wake of a preventable tragedy. With your signature, California will be at the forefront of a national movement to protect human rights and promote public safety with pragmatic and workable policies to regulate the use of room confinement. For these reasons, we strongly support SB 1143 by Senator Leno, and strongly urge you to sign this bill into law.

Sincerely,

[SIGNATURE]
[NAME, TITLE]
[ORGANIZATION]

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