THE INMATE POPULATION IN MASS. KEEPS FALLING, BUT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE PUT IN SOLITARY STAYS HIGH
September 15, 2019
The Boston Globe
About one in five inmates was placed in solitary confinement during 2018, alarming prisoner rights advocates and legislators who have criticized the practice as Draconian and called on corrections officials to reduce its prevalence.
Last year, at least 2,100 male and female prisoners were placed in isolation at least once, according to biannual reports provided by the Massachusetts Department of Correction. Most inmates remained there for 30 days or fewer, although about one-third were placed in isolation multiple times.
“This is a staggeringly high number and shows that many people are placed in solitary for minor infractions of prison rules,” said James Pingeon, a staff attorney with Prisoners’ Legal Services, which advocates for the rights of inmates in state custody. “It is dismaying and it confirms what we see as a lot of foot-dragging and resistance by the department to truly implement reforms.”