Solitary Confinement Vs. Restricted Engagement - My9 New Jersey

Solitary Confinement Vs. Restricted Engagement

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  • Solitary Confinement Press Release

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    Monday, August 26 2013 4:21 PM EDT2013-08-26 20:21:28 GMT
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Trenton, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

Chasing New Jersey investigates the use of juvenile solitary confinement.

The union representing prison guards and the Juvenile Justice Commission say that the media are misrepresenting what solitary confinement really is.

They say that the practice should be referred to as "restricted engagement:" and is often beneficial to young people.

New Jersey is one of the few states that allows juveniles to be held in solitary for 23 hours a day for up to 5 days.

It issued a statement saying that juveniles in solitary can get clergy visits, a book, and even a window.

Lance Lopez, Sr. President of PBA Local 105 says, "The words solitary confinement paint a picture of what we see in movies and on television shows like LOCK-UP, of being completely alone in dimly lit cells with no communication to the outside; with only meals being delivered a couple times a day."

They want to rebrand solitary confinement as "restricted engagement".

"The term better reflects exactly what kind of treatment these inmates are receiving and the fact that they are not locked in a cell with no light, visitors or rights of any kind but rather restricted to their room for five days," Lopez, Sr. says.

He say its giving young people "a time to themselves to reflect on their behavior".

Alex Shalom of The NJ-ACLU says the unions' news release would be laughable if it wasn't such a serious issue.

Advocacy groups are seeking changes in regulations regarding solitary confinement.

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