September 2, 2016

American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of religious, social services and children’s groups today will ask New Jersey to ban using solitary confinement as punishment for juveniles in state and county detention facilities. The state allows for juvenile offenders to be locked away in their rooms for up to five straight days as disciplinary punishment. Corrections officials in the United States have said it’s a needed tool. The ACLU and the groups say the practice goes against the mission of juvenile detention centers: to rehabilitate young people, all of whom will be released. “These are folks who are getting out, and we have an obligation to ensure both that they’re rehabilitated, and also that they’re not horribly damaged,” said Alex Shalom, the policy counsel of the ACLU in New Jersey. “I think this is a real opportunity for New Jersey to take a leadership role.”