Illinois seeks to limit use of solitary confinement

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Legislation sponsored by Chicago Democratic Rep. La Shawn Ford would limit solitary confinement to no more than five consecutive days and five total days during a 150-day period.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois lawmakers are trying to restrict the use of solitary confinement at state prisons with a proposal that limits the number of days an inmate can be segregated.

The push in Illinois is part of a national movement that has policymakers rethinking a decades-old punishment that critics say has profound psychological impacts.

Legislation sponsored by Chicago Democratic Rep. La Shawn Ford would limit solitary confinement to no more than five consecutive days and five total days during a 150-day period. That would be a dramatic change from the current rules that allow prisons to isolate inmates for weeks or years at a time.

The bill got initial approval in a House committee Wednesday on a 6-1 vote and awaits a vote by the full chamber.