Delaware Vote Tracker

Eliminating Solitary Confinement as a Sentencing Option

The House last month passed Senate Bill 98, a bill that prohibit judges from sentencing convicted felons to solitary confinement. The bill passed the Senate with significant Republican opposition, with only Republican Senator Ernie Lopez joining all Democrats in voting yes. But in the House, the vote was unanimous, 41-0, with all Republicans voting yes. This happens often, where a bill in one chamber garners partisan opposition that melts away in another chamber. Is it really the magic of June 30, where Republicans decide that their opposition was just performative and it was better to just place the bill on a consent agenda?

Senate Bill 98 Sponsors Yes VotesNo Votes
Pinkney, Sokola, SturgeonPassed Senate 15-6. Brown, Ennis, Gay, Hansen, Lockman, Lopez, Mantzavinos, Paradee, Pinkney, Poore, S.McBride, Sokola, Sturegon, Townsend, WalshBonini, Hocker, Lawson, Pettyjohn RIchardson, Wilson
Minor-Brown, Baumbach, Kowalko, Lambert, MorrisonHouse Passed 41-0. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Bolden Brady Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton Briggs King Collins D.Short Dukes Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende YearickNone
Current Status — Sent to the Governor

Solitary Confinement is a internal prison punishment that is designed to hold prisoners in isolation from the general population of a prison, such that they are held alone in their cells for twenty four hours a day.

This practice can cause negative psychological reactions in all prisoners subjected to it, and is known to be especially devastating for mentally ill prisoners who are disproportionately represented in solitary confinement. The practice can and does negatively affect rehabilitation of such prisoners subject to the sentence condition. Solitary confinement is also extremely costly, and studies have shown that it neither deters violent behavior in prisons nor prevents recidivism.

Under Delaware law, one of the sentence conditions that a Court can impose as part of the convicted defendant’s sentence is solitary confinement. Senate Bill 98 eliminates that option from a court’s sentencing powers and options.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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