RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Prison officials in North Carolina say they will no longer use solitary confinement for inmates who are under 18.
Adult correction and juvenile justice commissioner W. David Guice said in a news release that the state is beginning a new youthful offender program that will focus on education, behavioral health and the treatment needs of the younger inmates.
The state has 70 male inmates under age 18 at the Foothills Correctional Institution in Morganton. Solitary confinement will be phased out by Sept. 1, Guice said. There are two female inmates who are 18 or younger at the North Carolina Correctional Institute for Woman in Raleigh.
“The mental health, medical, educational, social, spiritual and emotional needs of these youth are numerous and complex,” he said in the statement.
As of Wednesday, there were no inmates younger than 16 being held in the state prison system, spokesman Keith Acree said.
Guice has said solitary confinement is not working and doesn’t lead to positive behavioral change.
The News and Observer of Raleigh reported (http://bit.ly/24TD4kI) that state prison officials have been moving away from the broad use of solitary confinement of adult inmates. Last spring, about 5,330 of the state’s 38,000 prisoners were segregated from other inmates on any given day. By late May, that number had been reduced to 2,540.