Because of you, Nebraska children won’t be locked up alone for days, weeks or even months at a time.
On Feb. 12, LB 230, a much-needed reform of harmful solitary confinement practices in juvenile detention centers and treatment facilities across the state, was signed into law.
Every victory we celebrate is shared with our incredible supporters. Together, we showed up and spoke up.
More than 700 of you signed a petition, calling on legislators for change. More than 100 of you volunteered to host a home viewing party for “Voices of Resilience” – a video series centering the stories of those who have experienced solitary confinement and the perspectives of policymakers who led the charge to end it. Thousands of you engaged on social media, sharing stories with friends and family.
That work made a difference. LB 230 advanced through the Legislature with strong support from across the political spectrum. We especially thank Senator Patty Pansing Brooks who introduced the bill and has been such a champion for Nebraska children.
This is a historic victory. LB 230 marks a milestone of a campaign that began in earnest with a report we produced four years ago, “Growing Up Locked Down.”
The research has been clear for decades. Solitary confinement causes psychological harm, increases suicide attempts and prevents kids from accessing the programming they need to rehabilitate. It's also disproportionately impacting communities of color. Though people of color represent about four out of 20 Nebraskans, the latest available data indicates 14 in 20 incidents of juvenile room confinement involve a youth of color.
We are so energized by this victory and promise to take that energy into the crucial work still before us.
Juveniles aren’t the only ones at risk when it comes to the negative effects of solitary confinement, and as we tackle this harmful practice for children, we need to discuss its impact on adults involved in the system, especially those most harmed by the practice – people with disabilities and mental illness.
Just this week we testified before legislators, saying we don’t believe the Department of Correctional Services will be in compliance with a new law taking effect March 1 that limits solitary confinement for adults with serious mental illnesses.
Please stay engaged on this issue and keep pushing for reforms of our broken system of mass incarceration.
Together, we’ll keep creating a more perfect union.