A recent article stated that Nebraska was one of 24 states that currently allows juvenile solitary confinement. According to the ACLU, Nebraska has the third highest incarceration rate in the nation, and over 500 youth ages 11 to 18 are placed in confinement each year for 11 to 30 days at a time.
We are talking 22 to 24 hours a day locked down in a cell with a thin pad, a thin blanket and many times with no access to light, water, restroom facilities or food.
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The lasting effects on solitary confinement for adults is astonishing, so think of how it must affect youth. Studies have shown that confinement has lifelong consequences on brain development and inhibits reasonable thinking, behavior and impulse control. It has also been linked to PTSD, depression and suicidal thoughts. Nebraska, we can do better for our youth.
Nebraska is working towards reform with LB230 which would ban the use of confinement except to eliminate immediate harm to themselves or others.
The legislation would set a time limit of 1 hour per 24 hours and would require strict documentation guidelines when confinement is used. The bill would also require rooms to have the same access to light, water, meals and services that is provided throughout the rest of the facility. If passed into law, this bill will have positive effects in the in the outcomes for these youth.