Debate about the use of solitary confinement in prisons has prompted states to examine their policies, with several making changes in recent years. Some have limited the use of solitary confinement or have modified living conditions in solitary confinement housing. The federal government also recently adopted changes to its policies on solitary confinement and has barred its use for juvenile inmates. Discussion of such proposals has centered on cost, safety in prisons and the community, and whether solitary confinement is implemented in ways that violate constitutional bans on cruel and unusual punishment. The issue is part of broader interim studies being conducted by Texas House and Senate criminal justice committees for the 85th legislative session in 2017, and lawmakers may discuss similar policies during next year’s regular legislative session.
For more on these issues, related legislation, and Texas’ use of solitary confinement, see the recent House Research Organization article, States Examine Policies, Conditions for Solitary Confinement in Prisons.