Hello Moya:

I wanted to follow up with you on the request of the Social Workers against Solitary Confinement (SWASC) Taskforce calling for the NASW Board to constitute a Solitary Confinement Commission to review NASW’s position on solitary confinement.

The Board fully discussed the SWASC memo at its April meeting, along with a number of other solitary confinement factors. After a robust discussion on this matter, the Board decided against establishing a commission. Its decision is final.

As you and I have discussed, I was on the agenda at that meeting to discuss NASW’s Social Justice Priorities. I presented Solitary Confinement as a significant concern listed under the Criminal Justice Priority.

In its discussion, the Board recognized that solitary confinement is an important and serious social justice issue, but it is one with critical nuances. Given the complexity of the issue, the Board cannot endorse a complete abolition of solitary confinement.  However, the Board voiced its strong opposition to the isolation of juveniles, barring extraordinary circumstances.  It emphasized that solitary confinement will continue to be a critical criminal justice issue on which NASW, as a whole, will work diligently to bring about meaningful and permanent reforms, within the context of our social justice agenda.

Thanks, Mel,Melvin H. Wilson, Manager, Department of Social Justice and Human Rights, NASW