U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Rep. David Trone (D-MD) have urged Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Colette Peters to reduce the frequency and length of solitary confinement. The plea comes four months after President Biden issued an order that inmates must be “free from prolonged segregation” and that isolation must be “used rarely, applied fairly, and subject to reasonable constraints.” The lawmakers say that more than 10,000 people are in some form of solitary confinement in BOP facilities on any given day, making up nearly eight percent of the federal prison population.
Durbin and Trone argue that this is unacceptable, citing research indicating that solitary confinement has little-to-no effect on maintaining safety and has proven harmful to prisoners' health. "The forced idleness and isolation of solitary confinement cause lasting mental health and physical deterioration and make people more likely to engage in difficult or disruptive behavior," Durbin and Trone said. "Research shows that just one or two days in solitary leads to significantly heightened risk of death by suicide, accident, violence, overdose, or other causes."