The House of Representatives unanimously approved a measure late Monday to prohibit incarcerated minors from being placed in solitary confinement.

The measure, which heads to the Senate, also mandates new training and reporting by the Department of Correction to improve management of inmates and reduce instances of solitary confinement.

The top House members on the Judiciary Committee, Democrat William Tong of Stamford and Republican Rosa Rebimbas of Naugatuck, both said the measure was the product of many hours of work by committee members from both parties.

Besides banning solitary for children, the bill also requires the correction department to report annually on inmates assigned to solitary, publishing information on age, gender, mental health issues and ethnicity.

It also mandates training for correction staff that interact with inmates, covering:

  • Recognition of symptoms of mental illness;
  • Techniques for safe management of the mentally ill;
  • Risks and side effects of psychiatric drugs;
  • And de-escalation techniques to encourage inmates to avoid behavior that could lead to solitary confinement.
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Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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