Sign the Petition to The Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives

Progress

170 signed
80 more needed

This petition closed 11 months ago

     Pretend you are in a dark, cramped room, only big enough to fit a small bed, a toilet, a sink, and maybe a small desk. There's nothing else: no window, no books, no music, just silence. Millions of thoughts run through your mind, yet there's no one to talk to. That is what tens of thousands of youth are currently going through in the United States. In Florida, thousands of minors are being placed in solitary confinement, for 22 or more hours a day, and some remain there for weeks and even months [1]. This is an injustice being committed upon these youth, especially since they are at such a crucial developmental stage in their lives. Though they have made mistakes, but as they are the future, don't they deserve to be treated fairly?

     There are many effects of solitary confinement on minors, such as "anxiety, depression, anger. . . paranoia and psychosis" [3]. The living conditions some of these minors are put through are inhumane and it needs to change, especially in the state of Florida. In Florida, many are denied access to psychological and health treatments as well as to any type of communication. They also have a very strict time limit for showering, eating, and exercising [2]. Studies have shown that these types of environments can cause many psychological problems like anxiety, shifting sleeping patterns, anger, rage, and even suicidal thoughts [1].

Recently, Florida Senator Audrey Gibson introduced Senate Bill 812 and House Bill 959 that could change the solitary confinement of minors issue significantly. These bills would:

- Prohibit correctional facilities from subjecting minors to solitary confinement except under certain situations (Florida House of Representatives).
- Limit the time that they can be confined to no more than 24 hours. 
- Provide them with individualized plans to prevent suicide.
- Limit the hours a minor under disciplinary cell confinement to no more than 72 hours (Florida House of Representatives).
- Allows them to have one-on-one contact with mental health clinicians
- Provides reduced isolation for those in protective custody

     By showing support for these bills, the senators and the government of Florida will realize how important it is to change what is being done to these incarcerated minors. If we really want less people committing crimes and more youth being educated and creating a good future, we must invest in them, even when they are struggling through the consequences of their mistakes. Without support, many youth may continue to be psychologically and physically harmed, while continuing the path of crime and wrongdoing.


Sources

[1] American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch. "Growing Up Locked      Down:   Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons Across the United States."   Humans Right Watch. Oct. 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.

[2] Ebenstein, Julie. "The Sad State of Solitary in Florida: Is There Hope for this Human   Rights Violation?" American Civil Liberties Union. 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.

[3] Fellner, Jamie, and Metzner, Jeffrey. "Solitary Confinement and Mental Illness in U.S. Prisons: A Challenge for Medical Ethics."  The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.

[4] "SB 812- Youth In Solitary Confinement." Florida House of Representatives. n.p. n.d.   Web. 16 Apr. 2013.

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