As reported in the City Paper, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced a new bill that would effectively end the practice of Solitary Confinement at the DC Jail, which has been notorious for its liberal use of solitary for all manner of incarcerated people there. This legislation goes a bit further than her prior unsuccessful efforts.
This time, the bill—which is also backed by Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, and at-large councilmembers Elissa Silverman and Robert White—would fully restrict the use of solitary and sharply limit other isolation measures at all of D.C.’s correctional facilities, instead of trying to limit those methods. It includes a full prohibition on disciplinary solitary confinement and the use of “safe cells,” where people considered a danger to themselves are housed. The bill would also prohibit the use of solitary for protective custody and bans any segregation of transgender inmates (a particularly salient issue after the Department of Corrections settled a lawsuit from a transgender woman who was housed with men for weeks).