WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | News

State Lawmakers Seek Investigation into Use of Solitary Confinement

March 21, 2012

Three Virginia lawmakers are seeking a federal investigation of the use of solitary confinement in the state's prisons.

State Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Arlington, and Delegates Patrick A. Hope, D-Arlington, and Charniele Herring, D-Alexander, asked the Justice Department to investigate the practice in a letter sent this week to Attorney General Eric Holder.

The lawmakers are particularly concerned about inmates who have mental illnesses.

"I believe Virginia has been engaged in a form of psychological torture of certain prisoners in segregation," Hope told The Washington Post. "Much of it is unnecessary and all of it is because we don't know there is a more effective and humane way to house prisoners."

Virginia Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Trayler said mentally ill inmates are segregated, not isolated or in solitary confinement. They may communicate with other inmates, have visitors and talk by telephone to friends and family.

"To equate segregation with isolation is simply incorrect," he told the newspaper.

The Legal Aid Justice Center also has asked the Justice Department to conduct an investigation. The center represents 12 inmates in isolation in Virginia.

The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host Newsplex.com welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to webmaster@newsplex.com.


powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 143683896