How the ADA Regulates and Restricts Solitary Confinement for People With Mental Disabilities

Margo Schlanger
Publication Date: 
May 19, 2016

ACS is pleased to release “How the ADA Regulates and Restricts Solitary Confinement for People with Mental Disabilities” by Margo Schlanger, the Henry M. Butzel Professor of Law at the University of Michigan.

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.” To read the Issue Brief, click here.