Good for Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) for standing up against the widespread use of physically and emotionally devastating solitary confinement in prisons and jails across America. In particular, the two senators are criticizing that people charged for involvement in the so-called January 6 United States Capitol insurrection are being routinely subjected to solitary confinement in jail while they await their trials.
Kyle Cheney, Andrew Desiderio, and Josh Gerstein wrote on Monday at Politico:
‘Solitary confinement is a form of punishment that is cruel and psychologically damaging,’ Warren said in an interview. ‘And we’re talking about people who haven’t been convicted of anything yet.’
The Massachusetts Democrat, a member of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s leadership team, said that while some limited uses of solitary confinement are justified, she’s worried that law enforcement officials are deploying it to ‘punish’ the Jan. 6 defendants or to ‘break them so that they will cooperate.’
Her sentiments are shared by Durbin, who also chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and expressed surprise that all of the detained Jan. 6 defendants were being kept in so-called ‘restrictive housing.’ While their defense of accused rioters’ rights as criminal defendants is unlikely to change the Justice Department’s handling of those cases, it’s a notable case of prominent progressives using their political clout to amplify their criminal justice reform calls even on behalf of Donald Trump supporters who besieged the entire legislative branch in January.
Durbin, who has long sought to eradicate solitary confinement, told POLITICO that such conditions should be a ‘rare exception,’ for accused insurrectionists or any other prisoners.
‘There has to be a clear justification for that, in very limited circumstances,’ he said.
Read the complete Politico article here.
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.