- Aug 5, 2020
A May 19 statement by 14 Catholic leaders, including five bishops, decried the danger people in prison are exposed to during the coronavirus pandemic.
Solitary confinement is in widespread use in prisons across the United States and, in New York state alone, more than 3,000 inmates are isolated in 6-by-10 cells for over 23 hours a day.
Religious groups including the U.S. bishops argue that long-term solitary confinement in prison is a form of torture.
The First Step Act is now law. It took about five years of effort to put it together in such a way that a broad bipartisan coalition in both houses of Congress could vote for it, but that resulted in a narrow bill that left out anything that could have gutted the effort.
The federal government could start shaving the size of its prison populations if the First Step Act becomes law.
Bishop Antoine Koné of Odienné, the president of the Ivory Coast bishops’ commission for social pastoral care, has called on the government to ease overcrowding in prisons.