11 Stan. J. C.R. & C.L. 331 (2015)
Solitary Confinement: Can the Courts Get Inmates out of the Hole

handle is hein.journals/stjcrcl11 and id is 343 raw text is: SOLITARY CONFINEMENT: CAN THE
COURTS GET INMATES OUT OF THE HOLE?
Mariam Hinds & John Butler*
In the last several years, solitary confinement has leapt to the attention of
lawmakers, prisoner rights advocates, and the media. Disturbing accounts of
inmates who have been in solitary confinement for ten, twenty, even thirty years
in California prisons have begun to emerge and demand the public's attention.
With the judicial, legislative, and executive branches all beleaguered by cases,
bills, reforms, and proposals for amending the State's solitary confinement
practices, California stands on the precipice of a major reform movement. But
the type of reform that California should aspire to achieve is not that often
produced by the courts. Historically, in cases challenging solitary confinement
practices, the courts have tailored their remedies narrowly to address the specific
injury that violates the plaintiffs' constitutional rights. Rather than slowly
chipping away at problematic solitary confinement practices through endless
litigation in the courts, structural reform should be pursued primarily through the
legislative and executive branches of government. By learning lessons from other
states such as Maine, New York, and Colorado that have successfully reformed
their solitary confinement practices, California can become a leader in the
humane and fair treatment of its prison population.
INTROD  U CTION  ........................................................................................... 332
I. HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND      .................................................................... 333
II. P RA CT IC E  ............................................................................................... 336
A . W hat Is Solitary  Confinement? .................................................. 336
B. W ho  Is in  Solitary  Confinement? ............................................... 337
1. Inm ates W ith  M ental Illnesses ............................................. 338
2. Gangs or Security Threat Groups ........................................ 339
a. The Regulations Before October 17, 2014 .................. 339
b. The Regulations After October 17, 2014 .................... 340
C. How Do You Leave Solitary Confinement? .............................. 341
* Mariam Hinds graduated from Stanford Law School in 2014 and is pursuing a career as a
criminal defense attorney. John Butler is a 2014 graduate of Stanford Law School and is a
lawyer based in New Jersey. We would like to thank the faculty and staff at the Stanford
Criminal Justice Center as well as our friends and family for their support over the past
several years. We would especially like to thank Professor Joan Petersilia for her
encouragement, invaluable feedback, and mentorship. Finally, we would like to sincerely
thank our SJCRCL editors for their support, contributions, feedback, patience, and efforts.
The views and opinions expressed herein belong to and reflect those of the authors alone.

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