042623CM0101 sims


SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. is fighting to end youth solitary confinement – leading to better outcomes for children who are detained.

“Sadly, across the nation, young people are unjustly held in solitary confinement, spending 22 hours alone or more each day,” said Sims (D-Chicago). “That is inhumane and can cause grave psychological, physical and developmental harm.”

Sims’ measure would prohibit the use of solitary confinement on young detainees in detention centers for any purpose other than preventing immediate physical harm.

Young people in solitary confinement are isolated both physically and socially, often for days, weeks, or even months on end. Sometimes there is a window allowing natural light to enter or a view of the world outside cell walls. Sometimes it is possible to communicate by yelling to other inmates, with voices distorted, reverberating against concrete and metal. Occasionally, they get a book or bible, and if they are lucky, study materials. But inside this cramped space, few contours distinguish one hour, one day, week, or one month, from the next.

“For children, who are still developing and more vulnerable to irreparable harm, risks are magnified – particularly for kids with disabilities or histories of trauma and abuse,” said Sims. “Children should not be deprived of the services, programming, and other tools that they need for healthy growth, education, and development. We should be helping kids to grow into productive and healthy adults, not harming them.”

Senate Bill 3140 passed the Senate Special Committee on Criminal Law and Public Safety.