Text: H.R.4488 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (09/25/2019)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
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[H.R. 4488 Introduced in House (IH)]

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116th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 4488

  To develop and implement national standards for the use of solitary 
    confinement in correctional facilities, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           September 25, 2019

  Mr. Richmond (for himself and Mr. Walker) introduced the following 
       bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
  To develop and implement national standards for the use of solitary 
    confinement in correctional facilities, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Solitary Confinement Study and 
Reform Act of 2019''.

SEC. 2. PURPOSES.

    The purposes of this Act are to--
            (1) develop and implement national standards for the use of 
        solitary confinement to ensure that it is used infrequently and 
        only under extreme circumstances;
            (2) establish a more humane and constitutionally sound 
        practice of segregated detention or solitary confinement in 
        correctional facilities;
            (3) accelerate the development of best practices and make 
        reforming solitary confinement a top priority in each 
        correctional facility at the Federal and State levels;
            (4) increase the available data and information on the 
        incidence of solitary confinement, consequently improving the 
        management and administration of correctional facilities;
            (5) standardize the definitions used for collecting data on 
        the incidence of solitary confinement;
            (6) increase the accountability of correctional facility 
        officials who fail to design and implement humane and 
        constitutionally sound solitary confinement practices;
            (7) protect the Eighth Amendment rights of inmates at 
        correctional facilities; and
            (8) reduce the costs that solitary confinement imposes on 
        interstate commerce.

SEC. 3. NATIONAL SOLITARY CONFINEMENT STUDY AND REFORM COMMISSION.

    (a) Establishment.--There is established a commission to be known 
as the National Solitary Confinement Study and Reform Commission.
    (b) Members.--
            (1) In general.--The Commission shall be composed of 9 
        members, of whom--
                    (A) 3 shall be appointed by the President;
                    (B) 2 shall be appointed by the Speaker of the 
                House of Representatives, unless the Speaker is of the 
                same party as the President, in which case 1 shall be 
                appointed by the Speaker of the House of 
                Representatives and 1 shall be appointed by the 
                minority leader of the House of Representatives;
                    (C) 1 shall be appointed by the minority leader of 
                the House of Representatives (in addition to any 
                appointment made under subparagraph (B));
                    (D) 2 shall be appointed by the majority leader of 
                the Senate, unless the majority leader is of the same 
                party as the President, in which case 1 shall be 
                appointed by the majority leader of the Senate and 1 
                shall be appointed by the minority leader of the 
                Senate; and
                    (E) 1 shall be appointed by the minority leader of 
                the Senate (in addition to any appointment made under 
                subparagraph (D)).
            (2) Persons eligible.--Each member of the Commission shall 
        be an individual who has knowledge or expertise in matters to 
        be studied by the Commission.
            (3) Consultation required.--The President, the Speaker, and 
        the minority leader of the House of Representatives, and the 
        majority leader and minority leader of the Senate shall consult 
        with one another prior to the appointment of the members of the 
        Commission to achieve, to the maximum extent possible, fair and 
        equitable representation of various points of view with respect 
        to the matters to be studied by the Commission.
            (4) Term.--Each member shall be appointed for the life of 
        the Commission.
            (5) Time for initial appointments.--The appointment of the 
        members shall be made not later than 180 days after the date of 
        enactment of this Act.
            (6) Vacancies.--A vacancy in the Commission shall be filled 
        in the manner in which the original appointment was made, and 
        shall be made not later than 60 days after the date on which 
        the vacancy occurred.
    (c) Operation.--
            (1) Chairperson.--Not later than 15 days after appointments 
        of all the members are made, the President shall appoint a 
        chairperson for the Commission from among its members.
            (2) Meetings.--The Commission shall meet at the call of the 
        chairperson. The initial meeting of the Commission shall take 
        place not later than 30 days after the initial appointment of 
        the members is completed.
            (3) Quorum.--A majority of the members of the Commission 
        shall constitute a quorum to conduct business, but the 
        Commission may establish a lesser quorum for conducting 
        hearings scheduled by the Commission.
            (4) Rules.--The Commission may establish by majority vote 
        any other rules for the conduct of Commission business, if such 
        rules are not inconsistent with this Act or other applicable 
        law.
    (d) Comprehensive Study of the Impacts of Solitary Confinement.--
            (1) In general.--The Commission shall carry out a 
        comprehensive legal and factual study of the penological, 
        physical, mental, medical, social, fiscal, and economic impacts 
        of solitary confinement in the United States on--
                    (A) Federal, State, and local governments; and
                    (B) communities and social institutions generally, 
                including individuals, families, and businesses within 
                such communities and social institutions.
            (2) Matters included.--The study under paragraph (1) shall 
        include--
                    (A) a review of existing Federal, State, and local 
                government policies and practices with respect to the 
                extent and duration of the use of solitary confinement;
                    (B) an assessment of the relationship between 
                solitary confinement and correctional facility 
                conditions, and existing monitoring, regulatory, and 
                enforcement practices;
                    (C) an assessment of the characteristics of 
                prisoners and juvenile detainees most likely to be 
                referred to solitary confinement and the effectiveness 
                of various types of treatment or programs to reduce 
                such likelihood;
                    (D) an assessment of the impacts of solitary 
                confinement on individuals, families, social 
                institutions, and the economy generally;
                    (E) an identification of additional scientific and 
                social science research needed on the prevalence of 
                solitary confinement in correctional facilities as well 
                as a full assessment of existing literature;
                    (F) an assessment of the general relationship 
                between solitary confinement and mental illness;
                    (G) an assessment of the relationship between 
                solitary confinement and levels of training, 
                supervision, and discipline of the staff of 
                correctional facilities; and
                    (H) an assessment of existing Federal and State 
                systems for collecting and reporting the number and 
                duration of solitary confinement incidents in 
                correctional facilities nationwide.
            (3) Report.--
                    (A) Distribution.--Not later than two years after 
                the date of the initial meeting of the Commission, the 
                Commission shall submit a report on the study carried 
                out under this subsection to--
                            (i) the President;
                            (ii) the Congress;
                            (iii) the Attorney General of the United 
                        States;
                            (iv) the Secretary of Health and Human 
                        Services;
                            (v) the Director of the Federal Bureau of 
                        Prisons;
                            (vi) the Administrator of the Office of 
                        Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention;
                            (vii) the chief executive of each State; 
                        and
                            (viii) the head of the department of 
                        corrections of each State.
                    (B) Contents.--The report under subparagraph (A) 
                shall include--
                            (i) the findings and conclusions of the 
                        Commission;
                            (ii) the recommended national standards for 
                        reducing the use of solitary confinement 
                        described in subsection (e); and
                            (iii) a summary of the materials relied on 
                        by the Commission in the preparation of the 
                        report.
    (e) Recommendations.--
            (1) In general.--As part of the report submitted under 
        subsection (d)(3), the Commission shall provide the Attorney 
        General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services with 
        recommended national standards for significantly reducing the 
        use of solitary confinement in correctional facilities.
            (2) Matters included.--The information provided under 
        paragraph (1) shall include recommended national standards 
        relating to--
                    (A) how authorities can progress toward 
                significantly limiting the utilization of solitary 
                confinement so that a prisoner may be placed in 
                solitary confinement only under extreme emergency 
                circumstances, as a last resort, for as short a time as 
                possible, subject to independent review, and pursuant 
                to the authorization of a competent authority;
                    (B) methods that can be employed to ensure that the 
                duration of solitary confinement of a prisoner at an 
                institution can be limited to no more than 15 
                consecutive days in a 60-day period, except that if the 
                head of a correctional facility makes an individualized 
                determination that the prisoner cannot be safely 
                returned to the general population, the head of the 
                correctional facility may continue to segregate the 
                prisoner from the general population without the use of 
                solitary confinement and in accordance with the United 
                Nations Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of 
                Prisoners;
                    (C) ensuring that prior to being classified, 
                assigned, or subject to long-term segregation, a 
                prisoner shall be entitled to a meaningful hearing on 
                the reason for and duration of the confinement and have 
                access to legal counsel for such hearings;
                    (D) ensuring that indefinite sentencing of a 
                prisoner to long-term segregation will not be allowed 
                and that the prisoner will be afforded a meaningful 
                review of the segregation at least once every 30 days 
                that the prisoner remains in segregation and that 
                correctional facility officials must record and provide 
                a transcript of the review proceedings for the prisoner 
                under review to the prisoner or the prisoner's 
                designee;
                    (E) ensuring that correctional facility officials 
                design and implement programming that allows prisoners 
                subject to long-term segregation to earn placement in 
                less restrictive housing through positive behavior;
                    (F) ensuring that protective custody and other 
                custody designations designed to protect vulnerable 
                prisoners, regardless of the reason for vulnerability, 
                are not characterized by solitary confinement or other 
                type of isolation conditions, and that prisoners placed 
                in protective custody have access to programs, 
                privileges, education, and work opportunities 
                commensurate with general population prisoners to the 
                extent possible;
                    (G) ensuring that correctional facility officials 
                improve access to mental health treatment for prisoners 
                in solitary confinement;
                    (H) ensuring that correctional facility officials 
                work toward systems wherein prisoners diagnosed by a 
                qualified mental health professional with a serious 
                mental illness are not held in long-term solitary 
                confinement;
                    (I) ensuring that correctional facility officials 
                do all that is feasible to make certain that prisoners 
                are not held in solitary confinement for any duration;
                    (J) ensuring that correctional facility officials 
                develop alternative methods to manage issues with 
                prisoners other than solitary confinement;
                    (K) ensuring that correctional facility officers do 
                all that is feasible to make certain that prisoners 
                with mental health, physical, or cognitive disabilities 
                are not held in solitary confinement for any duration;
                    (L) ensuring that correctional facility officers do 
                all that is feasible to make certain that pregnant and 
                post-partum women are not held in solitary confinement 
                for any duration;
                    (M) ensuring that correctional facility officers 
                work towards systems that limit the circumstances and 
                conditions under which juveniles are placed in solitary 
                confinement, in compliance with section 5043 of title 
                18, United States Code; and
                    (N) such other matters as may reasonably be related 
                to the goal of reducing solitary confinement in 
                correctional facilities.
            (3) Limitation.--The Commission shall not propose a 
        recommended standard that would impose substantial additional 
        costs compared to the costs presently expended by correctional 
        facilities, and shall seek to propose standards that reduce the 
        costs of incarceration at such facilities.
    (f) Consultation With Accreditation Organizations.--In developing 
recommended national standards for the reduction of solitary 
confinement under subsection (e), the Commission shall consider any 
standards that have already been developed, or are being developed 
simultaneously to the deliberations of the Commission. The Commission 
shall consult with accreditation organizations responsible for the 
accreditation of correctional facilities that have developed or are 
developing standards related to solitary confinement. The Commission 
shall also consult with national associations representing the 
corrections profession, the legal profession, the medical profession, 
or any other pertinent professional body that has developed or is 
developing standards related to solitary confinement.
    (g) Hearings.--
            (1) In general.--The Commission shall hold public hearings. 
        The Commission may hold such hearings, sit and act at such 
        times and places, take such testimony, and receive such 
        evidence as the Commission considers advisable to carry out its 
        duties under this section.
            (2) Witness expenses.--Witnesses requested to appear before 
        the Commission shall be paid the same fees as are paid to 
        witnesses under section 1821 of title 28, United States Code. 
        The per diem and mileage allowances for witnesses shall be paid 
        from funds appropriated to the Commission.
    (h) Information From Federal or State Agencies.--The Commission may 
secure directly from any Federal department or agency such information 
as the Commission considers necessary to carry out its duties under 
this section. The Commission may request the head of any State or local 
department or agency to furnish such information to the Commission.
    (i) Personnel Matters.--
            (1) Travel expenses.--The members of the Commission shall 
        be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of 
        subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies 
        under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States 
        Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business 
        in the performance of service for the Commission.
            (2) Detail of federal employees.--With the affirmative vote 
        of \2/3\ of the Commission, any Federal Government employee, 
        with the approval of the head of the appropriate Federal 
        agency, may be detailed to the Commission without 
        reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption or 
        loss of civil service status, benefits, or privileges.
            (3) Procurement of temporary and intermittent services.--
        Upon the request of the Commission, the Attorney General shall 
        provide reasonable and appropriate office space, supplies, and 
        administrative assistance.
    (j) Contracts for Research.--
            (1) National institute of justice.--With a \2/3\ 
        affirmative vote, the Commission may select nongovernmental 
        researchers and experts to assist the Commission in carrying 
        out its duties under this Act. The National Institute of 
        Justice shall contract with the researchers and experts 
        selected by the Commission to provide funding in exchange for 
        their services.
            (2) Other organizations.--Nothing in this subsection shall 
        be construed to limit the ability of the Commission to enter 
        into contracts with other entities or organizations for 
        research necessary to carry out the duties of the Commission 
        under this section.
    (k) Termination.--The Commission shall terminate on the date that 
is 60 days after the date on which the Commission submits the reports 
required by this section.
    (l) Exemption.--The Commission shall be exempt from the Federal 
Advisory Committee Act.

SEC. 4. ADOPTION AND EFFECT OF NATIONAL STANDARDS.

    (a) Publication of Standards.--
            (1) Final rule.--Not later than two years after receiving 
        the report specified in section (3)(d)(3), the Attorney General 
        shall publish a final rule adopting national standards for the 
        reduction of solitary confinement in correctional facilities.
            (2) Independent judgment.--The standards referred to in 
        paragraph (1) shall be based upon the independent judgment of 
        the Attorney General, after giving consideration to the 
        recommended national standards provided by the Commission under 
        section 3(e), and being informed by such data, opinions, and 
        proposals that the Attorney General determines to be 
        appropriate to consider.
            (3) Limitation.--The Attorney General shall not establish a 
        national standard under this section that would impose 
        substantial additional costs compared to the costs presently 
        expended by Federal and State correctional systems. The 
        Attorney General may, however, provide a list of improvements 
        for consideration by correctional facilities.
            (4) Transmission to states.--Not later than 90 days after 
        publishing the final rule under paragraph (1), the Attorney 
        General shall transmit the national standards adopted under 
        that paragraph to the chief executive of each State, the head 
        of the department of corrections of each State, the head of the 
        department of juvenile justice of each State, and to the 
        appropriate authorities in those units of local government who 
        oversee operations in one or more correctional facilities.
    (b) Applicability to Federal Bureau of Prisons.--The national 
standards referred to in subsection (a) shall apply to the Federal 
Bureau of Prisons immediately upon adoption of the final rule under 
subsection (a)(1).
    (c) Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Funding 
Reduction.--Beginning in the second fiscal year that begins after the 
date on which the Attorney General issues the final rule under 
subsection (a)(1), in the case of a State or unit of local government 
that is not in compliance with the national standards described in 
subsection (a)(1), the Attorney General shall reduce by 5 percent the 
amount that such State or unit of local government would otherwise 
receive under subpart 1 of part E of the Omnibus Crime and Safe Streets 
Act of 1968 (34 U.S.C. 10151 et seq.).

SEC. 5. DEFINITIONS.

    For purposes of this Act, the following definitions shall apply:
            (1) Attorney general.--The term ``Attorney General'' means 
        the Attorney General of the United States.
            (2) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the National 
        Solitary Confinement Study and Reform Commission established 
        under section 3 of this Act.
            (3) Long-term.--The term ``long-term'' means any period 
        lasting more than 15 consecutive days in a 60-day period.
            (4) Qualified mental health professional.--The term 
        ``qualified mental health professional'' means a psychiatrist, 
        psychologist, psychiatric social worker, licensed professional 
        counselor, psychiatric nurse, or another individual who, by 
        virtue of education, credentials, and experience, is permitted 
        by law to evaluate and provide mental health care.
            (5) Serious mental illness.--The term ``serious mental 
        illness'' means a substantial disorder that--
                    (A) significantly impairs judgment, behavior, or 
                capacity to recognize reality or cope with the ordinary 
                demands of life; and
                    (B) is manifested by substantial pain or 
                disability, the status of being actively suicidal, a 
                severe cognitive disorder that results in significant 
                functional impairment, or a severe personality disorder 
                that results in significant functional impairment.
            (6) Solitary confinement.--The term ``solitary 
        confinement'' means confinement of a prisoner or juvenile 
        detainee in a cell or other place, alone or with other persons, 
        for approximately 22 hours or more per day with severely 
        restricted activity, movement, and social interaction, which is 
        separate from the general population of that correctional 
        facility.
            (7) Segregation.--The term ``segregation'' means housing of 
        a prisoner separate from the general population of a 
        correctional facility in which movement, activity, and social 
        interaction may be restricted.
            (8) Correctional facility.--The term ``correctional 
        facility'' means a Federal, State, local, or privately run 
        prison, jail, or juvenile detention facility.
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