California will strictly limit its use of solitary confinement in prisons, the state announced on Tuesday. The changes are expected to greatly reduce the number of inmates held in isolation. Currently, inmates are often kept in small, windowless cells for 22 hours a day, often suffering severe psychological distress as a result.
The changes come as part of a settlement to a landmark class action lawsuit brought by prisoners. Those prisoners had been held in solitary confinement for 10 years or longer in Pelican Bay State Prison, near the Oregon border.