Due to the expiration of COVID-19 emergency measures, the Board of Correction postponed its public meeting scheduled for July 13, 2021. This meeting will be rescheduled in order to hold the meeting in person as soon as possible. The Department had requested, and the Board had included on its public agenda, a limited variance request regarding the review of the use of non-individualized restraints in punitive segregation before November 1, 2021.
Because the Board is rescheduling its public meeting, the Department of Correction, pursuant to §1-15(b)(3) of the Board's minimum standards, is declaring a need for emergency variances regarding compliance with the recently-passed §6-28(g) of the Board's minimum standards governing restrictive housing. The section requires the Department to review the use of non-individualized restraints every seven days. The intent of this section was to require the Department to review the use of restraints in ESH Level -1 every seven (7) days. This review is required until the Department eliminates solitary confinement and implements the RMAS system on November 1, 2021. An oversight erroneously applied this requirement to the punitive segregation units. The Department has sought a limited variance until November 1, 2021 to exempt punitive segregation units from §6-28(g) citing the safety of staff and people in custody.
In its declaration, the Department has reaffirmed its commitment to implementing the RMAS system by November 1, 2021 as required under the rule. The Department reports continued progress with regards to the construction of RMAS units, the creation of new reporting streams, and the revision of impacted policies. These important steps will inform required staff trainings and operational changes. The Department remains committed to implementing the new rule in a timely manner and plans to provide more substantive updates on its progress at the next Board meeting and in the required August reporting.