AB 2632, The California Mandela Act, Targeting Solitary Confinement in Jails, Prisons and Immigration Detention Facilities Heads to the Governor’s Desk

For immediate release:

Sacramento, CA – Today, Assemblymember Chris Holden’s bill, AB-2632, The California Mandela Act passed the Assembly Floor on concurrence and is now headed to the Governor’s Desk. The bill would provide one set of clear standards for jails, prisons and private civil detention facilities on the issue of isolation and solitary confinement.

The bill follows legislation passed by other states to pursue alternatives to solitary confinement focused on rehabilitation and programming. This includes recent legislation passed in New York and Colorado, and inspiration from the United Nations Nelson Mandela Rules, which define prolonged solitary confinement as torture. 

“Too many have experienced the long lasting and extremely damaging effects of being confined to a space the size of a parking stall, without human contact, for years on end,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “The California Mandela Act originated from the harmful and damaging experiences of people who have been held in prolonged solitary confinement, especially vulnerable populations such as people who are pregnant or seriously disabled.”

The issue of solitary confinement has historically been rooted in issues related to social justice in California. In 2011, California had more people in solitary confinement for longer periods than any other state. Through the efforts of detained people and advocates, a number of legal settlements have resulted in changes in prisons and jails.

“Disability Rights California is thrilled that our cosponsored bill AB 2632-the California Mandela Act- is heading to the Governor. Solitary confinement is torture. It disproportionately harms disabled people, especially disabled people of color. This bill goes a long way in potentially limiting its use in California! Thank you to Assemblymember Holden, the other cosponsors and all of the impacted people who have ever been in solitary confinement,” said Eric Harris, Director of Public Policy, Disability Rights California.

“The Mandela Act creates a window of hope and builds on the decades of work done by detained individuals, activists and organizers and allows for constructive alternatives,” said Holden.

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