Critics say Massachusetts should ease solitary confinement

BOSTON (AP) — Family members and others opposed to solitary confinement are urging Massachusetts lawmakers to restrict its use in jails and prisons.

Jill Laganas said her son Billy spent 364 continuous days in solitary confinement while serving a sentence for armed robbery. He overdosed and died less than three months after his release from prison.

Lawmakers heard proposals Monday to limit solitary confinement to cases where an inmate poses a clear threat to the general prison population.

The bills also call for improving conditions in segregation units and requiring that correctional facilities disclose more information about solitary confinement.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said the use of solitary confinement has been “dramatically reduced” in recent years.

Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts says the state has some of the nation’s harshest solitary confinement policies.

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