Sister Benita (right) meets with a representative of Senator Durbin's office to offer support for a new bill that would reform solitary confinement practices in federal prisons in the United States.
Solitary confinement is increasingly recognized as a form of torture, but tens of thousands of U.S. citizens are locked in confinement for years. Our community took a stand against torture in July of 2010 so Sister Benita Coffey joined Illinois Coalition Against Torture (ICAT).
ICAT traveled to the John C. Kluczynski Federal Building in downtown Chicago on October 31st. There, Sister Benita met with Stephanie Trifone, a member of Senator Durbin's Judiciary Committee Staff from Washington, DC. Together, they talked about the recently introduced Solitary Confinement Reform Act (S 3432) that is co-sponsored by Senator Durbin and four other Senators. Solitary confinement has been known to cause deep psychological damage that continues even after someone is released from prison. There is also documentation about the negative affects against a person's physical health.
Stephanie shared with Sister Benita Senator Durbin's consistent efforts to keep reform of current abuses of solitary confinement a priority in all deliberations about the treatment of the incarcerated in our country. She also shared suggestions for what can be done to support the new bill that seeks to change the solitary confinement practices in the country.
To learn more about the state of solitary confinement in our country, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights. If you are interested in joining Sister Benita in the effort to end solitary confinement, you can email her here.