AP NEWS

Lawmakers, advocates call for end to solitary confinement

February 25, 2020 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Advocates and state lawmakers called Tuesday for the end of solitary confinement in Connecticut’s prisons and jails.

The group called Stop Solitary: Connecticut and lawmakers held a news conference at the Capitol to express support for ending the practice. A replica solitary confinement cell was also on display in the lobby of the building.

State Sen. Gary Winfield said many people who’ve been in the replica cell can only stay inside for 10 to 15 minutes. The New Haven Democrat said a bill designed to end the practice is coming to the judiciary committee, which he co-chairs.

James Tillman, who was wrongfully convicted of a crime and spent almost 20 years in prison, is on the advocacy group’s steering committee.

“I don’t think the cells have changed, it’s still the same cell,” he said. “It’s emotional looking at that cell, it brings back memories.”

He said the fact that he marveled at simply being able to smell grass when he got out of the cell shows the damage of being locked up in solitary.