3 NorCal County Jails Are Trying a Kinder Approach to Solitary Confinement

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Three Northern California county jails are trying a kinder approach to solitary confinement.

The idea came in response to inmate lawsuits against seven California counties, and is being used to limit solitary confinement to violent inmates.

The new policy encourages jailers to use low-cost incentives to reward good behavior, like giving them opportunity to listen to the radio or watch a movie.

Contra Costa and Sacramento counties are following the policy, which was pioneered by Santa Clara County.

Officials say the changes have dramatically reduced the number of inmates in isolation and the length of time they stay there.

Fresno County is also considering the new approach.

Experts say it could serve as a national model for reducing the use of isolation they say is dehumanizing and can worsen mental illness.

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