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  • NJ A547
  • Restricts use of isolated confinement in correctional facilities.
Introduced
(1/27/2016)
In Committee
(10/6/2016)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill restricts the use of isolated confinement in correctional facilities in New Jersey. The bill specifically prohibits inmates incarcerated or detained in correctional facilities from being placed in isolated confinement unless there is reasonable cause to believe that the inmate or others would be at risk of serious harm, and any less restrictive intervention would be insufficient to reduce that risk. The correctional facility is responsible for establishing the justification for isolated confinement. Inmates may not be placed in isolated confinement for non-disciplinary reasons. Inmates are required to receive a personal and comprehensive medical and mental health examination, conducted by a clinician, before being placed in isolated confinement. Under the bill, initial procedures and reviews providing timely, fair, and meaningful opportunities for an inmate to contest the confinement are required to be made available. The procedures are to include the right to an initial hearing within 72 hours of placement and reviews every 15 days thereafter, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, unavoidable delays, or reasonable postponements; the right to appear at the hearing; the right to be represented at the hearing; an independent hearing officer; and a written statement of reasons for the decision made at the hearing. Except in cases involving medical isolation, the final decision to place an inmate in isolated confinement is to be made by the facility administrator. An inmate is to be removed from isolated confinement if the administrator determines that the inmate no longer meets the standard for isolated confinement. A clinician is required to evaluate each inmate placed in isolated confinement, on a daily basis, to determine whether the inmate is a member of a vulnerable population. An inmate determined to be a member of a vulnerable population shall be immediately removed from isolated confinement to an appropriate placement. Under the bill, an inmate is a member of a vulnerable population if he or she is 21 years of age or younger; is 55 years of age or older; has a disability based on a mental illness, a history of psychiatric hospitalization, or has recently exhibited conduct, including but not limited to serious self-mutilation, indicating the need for further observation or evaluation to determine the presence of mental illness; has a developmental disability; has a serious medical condition which cannot effectively be treated in isolated confinement; is pregnant; or has a significant visual or auditory impairment. No inmate is to be placed in isolated confinement for more than 15 consecutive days, or for more than 20 days during any 60-day period under the bill. Cells or other holding or living spaces used for isolated confinement are to be properly ventilated, lit, temperature-controlled, clean, and equipped with properly functioning sanitary fixtures. The bill defines isolated confinement as "confinement of an inmate in a correctional facility, pursuant to disciplinary, administrative, protective, investigative, medical, or other classification, in a cell or similarly confined holding or living space, alone or with other inmates, for approximately 20 hours or more per day with severely restricted activity, movement, and social interaction." The bill provides for certain exceptions to the restrictions on isolated confinement for facility-wide lock downs, emergency confinement, medical isolation, and protective custody.
2nd Reading in the Assembly, Law and Public Safety, Substituted by another Bill
Substituted by S51 (2R)  (on 10/20/2016)
 
 

Date Chamber Action Description
10/20/2016 A Substituted by S51 (2R)
10/6/2016 Assembly Appropriations Hearing (12:00 10/6/2016 Committee Room 11, 4th Floor)
10/6/2016 A Reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading
10/6/2016 Assembly Appropriations Hearing (13:00 10/6/2016 Committee Room 11, 4th Floor)
9/22/2016 A Reported out of Asm. Comm. with Amendments, and Referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee
9/22/2016 Assembly Law and Public Safety Hearing (14:00 9/22/2016 Committee Room 13, 4th Floor)
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
Detail 10/6/2016 Assembly Appropriations Committee: Reported Favorably 7 3 1
Detail 9/22/2016 Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee: Reported with Amendments 5 3 1