From: Washington Post:
feb 6 2012
By Anita Kumar
The Republican-controlled House of Delegates killed a bill that would have required the state to study ways to limit the use of solitary confinement in state prisons, especially of those who are mentally ill.
Del. Patrick A. Hope (D-Arlington), Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) and Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) proposed the bill after visiting state prisons last fall, including Red Onion in Southwest Virginia, to examine how their most violent inmates are treated.
The House killed the bill in its Rules Committee. A similar bill in the Senate has yet to be heard, but it’s unlikely that the House would change its position.
Virginia, one of 44 states that use solitary confinement, has 1,800 people in isolation, a sizable share of the estimated 25,000 people in solitary in the nation’s state and federal prisons.
As more becomes known about the effects of isolation — on inmate health, public safety and prison budgets — some states have begun to reconsider the practice. Among them is Texas, which, like Virginia, is known as a law-and-order state.