Code of the District of Columbia

§ 24–912. Limitations on the use of room confinement.

(a) Penal institutions and secure juvenile facilities shall not use room confinement on a juvenile for the purposes of discipline, punishment, administrative convenience, retaliation, or staffing shortages.

(b)(1) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, a penal institution or secure juvenile facility may use room confinement on a juvenile as a temporary response to behavior that threatens:

(A) Imminent harm to the juvenile or others; or

(B) Imminent danger to the safe or secure operation of the penal institution or secure juvenile facility.

(2) A penal institution or secure juvenile facility may use room confinement pursuant to paragraph (1) of this section if there is no other reasonable means to eliminate the condition; provided, that:

(A) Room confinement is used only to the extent necessary to eliminate the condition identified;

(B) Facility staff promptly notifies the juvenile of the specific conditions that resulted in the use of room confinement;

(C) Room confinement takes place under the least restrictive conditions practicable and consistent with the individualized rationale for placement; and

(D) Facility staff develops a plan that will allow the youth to leave room confinement and return to the general population as soon as possible.

(c) Facility staff at a penal institution or secure juvenile facility may grant a juvenile's request for room confinement; provided, that the juvenile is free at any time to revoke his or her request for confinement and be immediately returned to the general population.

(d) Except for room confinement occurring under subsection (c) of this section, a health or mental health professional shall conduct a mental health screening on a juvenile placed in room confinement within one hour after placement. After a screening, the penal institution or secure juvenile facility shall provide mental health services to the juvenile, if necessary.

(e) Except for room confinement occurring under subsection (c) of this section, room confinement shall be used for the briefest period of time possible and not for a time to exceed 6 hours. After 6 hours, the youth shall be returned to the general population, transported to a mental health facility upon the recommendation of a mental health professional, transferred to the medical unit in the facility, or provided special individualized programming that may include:

(1) Development of an individualized plan to improve the juvenile's behavior, created in consultation with the juvenile, mental health or health staff, and the juvenile's family members that identifies the causes and purposes of the negative behavior as well as concrete goals that the juvenile understands and that he or she can work toward to be removed from special programming.

(2) In-person supervision by and interaction with staff members;

(3) In-person provision of educational services;

(4) Involvement of the juvenile in other aspects of the facility's programming, unless the involvement threatens the safety of the juvenile or staff or the security of the facility; and

(5) Daily review with the juvenile of his or her progress toward the goals outlined in his or her plan.

(f) For each use of room confinement, facility staff shall document the following, if applicable:

(1) The name of the juvenile;

(2) The date and time the juvenile was placed in room confinement;

(3) The name and position of the person authorizing placement of the juvenile in room confinement;

(4) The staff involved in the conditions leading to the use of room confinement;

(5) The date and time the juvenile was released from room confinement;

(6) A description of the conditions leading to the use of room confinement or if room confinement was upon request by the juvenile;

(7) The alternative actions to room confinement that were attempted and found unsuccessful or the reason that alternatives were not possible;

(8) Any incident reports describing the condition that led to the period of room confinement; and

(9) Any referrals and contacts with qualified medical and mental health professionals, including the date, time, and person contacted.

(g) On March 1, 2018, and annually thereafter, the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services and the Department of Corrections shall submit a report to the Mayor and the Council that includes steps each agency has taken to reduce the unnecessary use of room confinement for juveniles and a summary of any information collected pursuant to subsection (f) of this section, including, for each penal institution or secure juvenile facility:

(1) The total number of incidents in which room confinement was utilized in the prior year;

(2) The average length of time juveniles spent in room confinements in the prior year;

(3) The longest period of time that any juvenile was in room confinement; and

(4) The greatest number of times that any juvenile was in room confinement.


(Apr. 4, 2017, D.C. Law 21-238, § 203, 63 DCR 15312.)