How The ADA Regulates And Restricts Solitary Confinement For People With Mental Disabilities

Margo Schlanger Wade H. and Dores M. McCree Collegiate Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

May 19, 2016

Critics of solitary confinement are finding success combatting its widespread use through constitutional challenges and appeals to public sentiment. Professor Schlanger argues that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides another promising avenue for challenging solitary confinement when used for individuals with mental disabilities, who comprise a disproportionate percentage of the solitary confinement population. Schlanger provides an in-depth reading and analysis of legislative and regulatory language and caselaw to provide litigators a guide to challenging the use and severity of solitary confinement for those with mental illness and intellectual disabilities. Schlanger concludes that prisons and jails at the local, state, and federal level have a responsibility to provide “individuated planning and therapeutic and disability-supportive practices that would curb prison and jail overuse of solitary confinement for prisoners with disabilities.”

Read the full issue brief hereHow the ADA Regulates and Restricts Solitary Confinement

By Margo Schlanger