[Lawsuit Challenging Use of Solitary Confinement in California County Jails]
Part 5 of our series "making reform easy"
AdSeg & other human Rights violations in Colorado Jails Represent a cost-shifting nightmare from the state to the counties as a result of inadequate state Services & bed space
Okay maybe this isn't "Politically easy" AND that's why we are proposing a diverse work group to identify alternatives for vulnerable populations.
From The Vera Justice Report (see below)
Segregated housing is reserved only for the most violent
Segregated housing is used only as a last resort
Segregated housing is used only for brief periods of time
Sometimes there is this feeling that -- okay yeah that's true for prisons -- but its not really as bad for jails.
It is true that people aren't being placed in AdSeg for 14 years in jails, but they often are placed in AdSeg for months and as our horror story of Debra Romero indicates up to a year or more -- and that absolutely affects people's mental health.
Further, AdSeg in Colorado Jails is just NOT reserved for the worst of the worst. Maybe sometimes it is -- AND OFTEN IT IS NOT.
Our understanding is that the State is kicking around the idea of "regional jail hospitals" to deal with some of these issues and we "think" the idea is the counties would pool their monies to pay for this.
We are NOT a big fan of this although we could "Compromise" if it meant getting people out of AdSeg and we do think it is important to look at other alternatives and maybe combinations of alternatives.
The State has graciously proposed an Olmstead Compliance Work Group (we're thinking the details on that are probably going to shake out after the legislative session -- we're crossing our fingers).
Additionally, Governor Hickenlooper in his State of the State did mention a "Comprehensive" [that's an Olmstead term art] Behavioral Health Care Plan to address among other things criminal justice -- we're ready to get started & the State has already been laying a lot of groundwork & there's a lot more to do.
AdSeg in Colorado Jails is too important an issue to just HOPE it gets dealt with. Further --
It is a complicated issue with the Counties and State pushing back against each other AND people with significant disabilities caught in the middle.
We are in such desperate NEED of a Diverse Work Group that includes ALL the Stakeholders, including people from "Vulnerable Populations" who have been subject to AdSeg in Colorado Jails.
We have contacted the Vera Institute of Justice inquiring whether they would be available to provide Technical Support to a Colorado Work Group to Develop Alternatives to Administrative Segregation in Colorado Jails IF the State were to establish such a group.
We have also informed Governor's staff that we have made the inquiry.
We are trying to make our request for such a work group easier to grant by possibly locating additional technical assistance.
We do not know if the Vera Institute will be able to assist -- we hope they would be. If they are not we may consider other possibilities.