DENVER – Statement of ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes on HB 1328, a bill to protect Colorado children from solitary confinement, which was approved today by the Colorado House of Representatives, after passing the Senate unanimously last week.
“The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado commends the Colorado legislature for taking action to protect children from inhumane and dangerous solitary confinement. HB 1328 puts in place permanent guardrails and oversight measures to ensure that the Colorado Department of Youth Corrections never again resorts to using long-term solitary confinement to manage or punish children.
A 2014 investigation by the ACLU of Colorado, the Colorado Juvenile Defender Center, and Colorado Disability Law revealed that DYC had illegally placed children in solitary confinement for days, weeks, even more than a month as punishment when there was no emergency, as a form of “treatment.”
Following the investigation, DYC committed to ending its use of solitary confinement except in emergencies, and adopted a new policy to that effect. HB 1328 codifies the current policy limiting the use of solitary confinement and establishes procedures to be followed when a child is secluded for more than four hours. The bill also includes recording requirements and the establishment of a working group to ensure implementation of the law and to prevent reversion to harmful seclusion practices.
The ACLU of Colorado would like to thank the sponsors of HB 1328, Senators Kent Lambert and Kevin Lundberg, Representative Beth McCann, and especially Representative Pete Lee, whose personal dedication and leadership was essential to navigating the bill to successful passage with wide bipartisan support in the final days of the session.”