WHAT WE DO
Unlock the Box supports education and advocacy efforts on the national, state, and local levels to advance the goal of ending solitary confinement in the United States.
The goal of the Unlock the Box campaign is to end solitary confinement in all U.S. prisons, jails, detention facilities, and juvenile facilities, bringing the United States into full compliance with the UN’s Mandela Rules within 10 years. We define solitary confinement for adults as confinement for more than 20 hours per day, alone or with a cellmate, without meaningful human contact. We define solitary confinement for youth as involuntary confinement alone in a cell, room, or other area for more than 4 hours.
In pursuit of this goal, we seek to effect policies and practices that:
Eliminate indefinite or prolonged isolation in all its forms and for all people;
Limit short-term isolation to 15 days or less, and to cases where it is needed to protect the safety of incarcerated persons and corrections staff;
Ban isolation entirely for youth aged 21 and under;
Ban isolation for people with serious psychiatric and physical disabilities; cognitive or sensory impairment; elders over the age of 55; and pregnant women and new mothers;
Prohibit the use of isolation for individuals who have any medical or mental health issues that might be exacerbated by such placement;
Prohibit the use of isolation as a form of protective custody for vulnerable groups such as individuals who identify as LGBTQI;
Prohibit the use of isolation as punishment;
Prohibit the mandatory use of isolation due to crime of conviction;
Replace the practice of isolation with humane, safe, and effective alternatives; and
Ensure transparency, accountability, and independent oversight in the use of isolation and in conditions of confinement in general.
To fulfill our mission, we offer resources, funding, and technical assistance to new and established anti-solitary campaigns across the country. Funding requests to our Jurisdiction-based Fund are currently by invitation only.
The Jurisdiction-based Fund is currently supporting campaigns in: Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Washington.