If passed into law, HB 68 by Rep. Mandie Landry expands present law restrictions on the use of solitary confinement to include that persons with the following conditions shall not be placed in solitary confinement.
(1) Persons who have been diagnosed by a healthcare provider at intake or in the previous five years, or at any time during incarceration, with a Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 mental health classification as provided for in the policies, rules, and regulations promulgated by the department.
(2) Persons who have, or had a record of, mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12102).
The proposed law requires the department to ensure that the curriculum for new corrections officers, other new department staff, or staff of any facility who contracts with the department and regularly works in programs providing mental health treatment for prisoners shall include at least eight hours of training regarding mental illness and mental illness with regard to the prisoners.
The proposed law further requires that all department staff and the staff of any facility who contracts with the department who has direct prisoner contact shall receive annual training regarding mental illness.
HB 68 defines “healthcare provider” as having the same meaning as defined in R.S. 22:1831 and that healthcare provider shall not include any physician or other healthcare practitioner who has a restricted, suspended, or revoked license as described in R.S. 37:1285.
HB 68 defines “solitary confinement” as any form of housing, segregation, or both that limits meaningful access to social interaction, counseling, medical care, visitation, outdoor recreation, or other therapeutic programming in a manner more restrictive than for the general population and includes but is not limited to disciplinary, preventative, and administrative housing, segregation, or both.
The proposed law makes present law applicable to private correctional institutions as well as facilities owned by the department.